A lively educational book that will particularly appeal to animal and car enthusiasts.

THE ALPHABET GRAND PRIX

Personified letters participate in a car race in Cox’s alphabet picture book.

This abecedarian work introduces young readers to the festive activity at the Alphabet Grand Prix, an event where letters with faces race against each other in cars. In verse using alliteration emphasized by capitalized words, the text describes each participant letter, and an accompanying illustration provides additional details. For instance, the letter B drives a “Brown Buick” and escorts a bluebird and balloons, and an elephant rides on E’s “Electric speedster.” The competition intensifies as the letters race; for example, as “R’s Roadster Races by so fast, / Like a Rolling ball of fire!” and “S’s Sportster picks up Speed,” “T Thinks it’s his Time…To make it Through / That checkered finish line.” The race concludes in an “alphabet photo finish!” This cheerful book offers whimsical elements and includes unusual terms like jalopyand vehicle manufacturer names that car-racing fans will enjoy spotting. The friendly, quirky-looking creatures are appealing, and the text’s tight focus on alphabet concepts offers learning opportunities. Kinsey’s hand-drawn illustrations use bright colors and textures, and cleverly detailed spreads include fun elements, such as a jumpsuit-wearing orange tiger who waves checkered flags. Onomatopoeic words, such as WOOSHand ROAR, also swirl around scenes.

A lively educational book that will particularly appeal to animal and car enthusiasts.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Lakeside Press

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2022

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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