Friendship and bulldozers. What could be sweeter?

BULLDOZER FRIENDS

From the Digger Man series

The star of the Digger Man (2003) books returns in this low-key paean to construction and friendship.

Fond as he is of his little brother, young Oliver doesn’t mind going to school because he has his friend Annie there. The two share a mutual love of building, drawing, trains, and other activities, but it’s during outside recess that they get to do what they really love: play with the toy construction vehicles in the sandbox. “We are a team. / We work together like a real construction crew,” says Oliver, operating a bulldozer as Annie does the same. In their imaginations, they actually drive trucks on a fanciful construction site over several double-page spreads until at last they are called back inside. The book deftly mirrors such social constructs as sharing (sometimes Annie plays with Oliver’s bulldozer), friendship, and respectful play for those readers who may still find trucks more interesting than other kids. Gender equality takes the spotlight since Oliver and Annie are on equal footing at all times. Bright, colorful paints and clear-cut images add to the book’s already considerable appeal. Oliver presents White, and Annie presents Black. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 59.1% of actual size.)

Friendship and bulldozers. What could be sweeter? (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30403-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Purchase for some temporary interactive Halloween fun.

MY MAGICAL WITCH

From the My Magical Friends series

Four green-faced witches fly through this durable board book looking for Halloween fun.

A turn of the notched wheel embedded in the cover page changes the sparkly stripes on a witch’s hat, cape, and broom. Three more witches join the fun inside. Though not identified by gender, all wear dresses. All the interactive elements are focused on the first witch, who wears fluffy orange hair in two pigtails. One slider simultaneously lifts a broom and plops a straight hat on top of that hair. Another slides the witch across the night sky. A second wheel shows the ingredients being added to a cauldron. A final slider magically produces three black cats. Two lines of (uncredited) rhyming text on each of the four double-page spreads hint at what the interactive element will reveal. While the text is conveniently placed in the same spot on each spread, the vocabulary is peppered with reach words for the toddler audience: “Off they swooped on whizzing brooms, / heading for the potions room.” Mice, pumpkins, spiderwebs, owls, brooms, bats, and other thematically appropriate objects and creatures scattered across the busy pages place the book firmly in the Halloween genre. Unnamed and primarily decorative, these seemingly arbitrary additions distract from the slight story thread. Toddlers will readily manipulate the five smoothly performing interactive elements; unfortunately, the text and pictures are not equally enticing.

Purchase for some temporary interactive Halloween fun. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4463-1

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more