The monotony of the text and the needlessly exhaustive nature of the examples make this one just OK.

ALL BUCKLED UP

As the title suggests, this board book shows people “buckling up” in all different types of vehicles and scenarios.

This book has a simple, straightforward setup: show people (and one dog) putting on seat belts in as many ways possible. The goal of the book appears to be convincing children that everyone does it—even astronauts—and they should, too. Zimmerman’s rhyming couplets have a nice rhythm, and each is followed by the same refrain: “One, two, three, CLICK!” The characters are diverse, although a preponderance presents white. The thin-lined, colorful backgrounds include details that younger preschoolers will enjoy finding, but they may prove hard for toddlers to decode. While the text makes unnecessary use of the gendered term “mailman,” Zimmerman does challenge some gender stereotypes: the farmer is a woman, as are the pilot and the fire chief. What makes the firetruck pages problematic, however, are the two unbuckled, unrestrained firefighters hanging off the back of the truck, a once-common practice that’s been long discontinued as unsafe—odd, given the book’s attention to safety while riding. All of the examples of safety restraints are nice enough, there’s just far too many. The book is at its best when showing less-obvious examples of buckling up, such as the life-jacketed dog.

The monotony of the text and the needlessly exhaustive nature of the examples make this one just OK. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3868-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Clever paper engineering adds an extra bit of magic to this firehouse visit.

WHAT'S UP, FIRE TRUCK?

From the Pop Magic series

Tour and toy in one, a compact introduction to firefighting gear that then unfolds completely and refolds into a ladder truck.

Some assembly—of the “match up the two-dot tab with the two-dot slot” sort—is required to work the transformation, but there are written instructions, a picture of the finished product on the slipcase, and even an online video to assist the manually clueless. While the toy is still a book, the diverse cast of cartoon firefighters, plus resident cat and Dalmatian, invites diapered digerati to view protective gear, hoses, and other equipment stowed on the truck beneath flaps and flip other flaps to “dress [one] in protective clothes,” draping layers over a green undershirt and trading in bunny slippers for boots. Pulling one tab lifts a ladder, and another waves a hose over a small pile of burning leaves (“Some fires are big, and some are quite small. / For this one we don’t need much water at all!”). Much of the gear is unlabeled, which provides opportunity for “do you know what that’s called?” interactions to go with reading the rhymed text. It’s all printed on stock heavy enough to survive repeated foldings and refoldings (though some of the individual flaps may not last that long), and the slipcase is sturdy as well.

Clever paper engineering adds an extra bit of magic to this firehouse visit. (Novelty. 2-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4107-4

Page Count: 10

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A very cute but not so simple offering for tots.

HAMSTERS ON THE GO

Reich’s hamsters return (Up Hamster, Down Hamster, 2015, etc.).

The hamsters are back, but they’re not sitting still—they’re traveling to and fro in a wide variety of vehicles. The little critters use a train, a golf cart, even a moon rover to get around. The lovable hamsters are always smiling and having a good time, providing a basic but pleasurable board book for little readers. The coloring has a subdued palette that works well with the calm and straightforward text. “Hamsters in a golf cart / Hamsters in a sleigh // Hamsters drifting lazily / In a hamster way.” The book doesn’t boast a particularly involving or eye-catching style, but little readers with a penchant for small, furry mammals will surely be satisfied. The highlight for adult readers is the absurd vehicles these hamsters operate, including inner tubes, hot air balloons, and a pudgy yellow submarine. The relative busyness of the double-page spreads, which often relate to each other in no way at all (three hamsters in leotards balance on a unicycle on verso, while three different hamsters soar in a paper plane on recto, for instance), will challenge young readers developing a sense of narrative flow.

A very cute but not so simple offering for tots. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1016-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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