An idyllic and idealized portrait of rural America, preserved in ink and paint rather than amber

LITTLE OLD FARM FOLK

A cozy board book is as traditional as “traditional” can be.

“On a little old farm… // In a little old house… // A little old lady flips two eggs from a pan, / as the toast pops up for her little old man.” The book goes on to enumerate the various farm activities this gray-haired white couple engages in. The little old man tends livestock and crops, while the little old lady works in her kitchen garden and cooks; throughout, a brown corgi and a tiger cat supervise. Wisnewski’s rhythmic verse rolls along with pleasing inevitability, the final line of each page of text (always on verso) ending with a turn-prompting ellipsis that takes readers to the next bucolic scene. These are presented in round medallions that take up the whole of each 6-inch-square recto, with complementary accents (pairs of red socks with the laundry scene, sprigs of blueberries with the pie-baking scene) in each corner. Although this farm is not free of relatively modern technology, those few items that do exist (an old enameled gas stove, a mid-20th-century red tractor) reinforce the sense of time gone by. The book ends with the four principals “fast asleep,” the corgi tucked in between little old man and little old lady and the cat curled up on the covers.

An idyllic and idealized portrait of rural America, preserved in ink and paint rather than amber . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56792-594-4

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Sure to prompt little fingers into joyful action.

TICKLE TIME!

A favorite baby-and-toddler activity receives an upbeat celebration that will get those fingers going. Watch out!

The gang of frazzled felines that populate this outing are truly the cat's meow. Based on Boynton's song of the same title, the text is reproduced in a colored, patterned font that amps the energy right up. A forlorn little kitty, paws clasped in front of his body, appears anxious (though slightly intrigued) when a trio of toms encourages him to join in the fun. “Gitchy-gitchy / Goo Gotta / Ready, Set, Go!” It doesn't take long before the cautious cat jumps in on this chorus line with dramatic leaps and fluttering fingers. A little birdie acts as a square-dance caller, enunciating each beat (“Goo bop. / Gitchy-goo bop”). The shaggy, large-nosed felines are tremendously expressive in their synchronized movements and maintain a rollicking pace. “We can tickle high. / We can tickle low. / We can tickle QUICKQUICKQUICK / as fast as we can go!” (Here, the page is filled with iterations of "gitchy gitchy gitchy" in different colors.) At the end, the gang sprawls on the floor, exhausted, after a truly monumental tickle-fest.

Sure to prompt little fingers into joyful action. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7611-6883-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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