Bland in comparison to the exuberant likes of Anne Sibley O’Brien and Susan Gal’s Abracadabra, It’s Spring! (2016) or Karen...

SAMMY IN THE SPRING

Sammy the cat takes a stroll outside with his stuffed horse, Hob, to admire springtime sights.

First Sammy puts on his shoes and socks, then ventures out to ride and walk over grassy knolls sprinkled with small flowers as birds and bunnies look on. He rides a succession of vehicles from a (pink) bicycle (sans helmet) to a “nice tractor,” gently wakes a family of sleeping hedgehogs, goes on to plant garden seedlings, then returns home for dinner. The simply phrased narrative and bright, sunny domestic and outdoor scenes are printed on card stock with rounded corners. Each double-page spread is also furnished with half-page flaps that conceal not twists or surprises but simply predictable next moments in the outing. There is one minor bobble (probably a glitch in the uncredited translation from the original Dutch): For “dinner” Sammy “eats tomatoes, cucumber and bread,” which U.S. readers are likely to feel sounds a lot more like “lunch” or “snack” and which omits the slice of Swiss cheese that’s clearly visible on the bread. Nevertheless, this offers no real stumbling block to enjoyment of the seasonally themed ramble.

Bland in comparison to the exuberant likes of Anne Sibley O’Brien and Susan Gal’s Abracadabra, It’s Spring! (2016) or Karen Katz’s Baby Loves Spring (2012), but sometimes that’s just the ticket. (Picture book/novelty. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-367-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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It’s all very obvious, but there’s no harm in harping on kindness.

ABCS OF KINDNESS

A HIGHLIGHTS BOOK ABOUT KINDNESS

An alphabet book featuring different ways to be kind.

This oversized board book takes a walk through the alphabet and hits on most of the obvious ways in which children can be kind to one another, themselves, and the planet. Berger’s simple text includes both small acts, like “Brightening someone’s day with a smile,” and larger ones, such as “Standing up for someone when no one else will.” The text is direct, without any poetry or flourish, so it reads a bit like an encyclopedia. The acts of kindness feel attainable for young readers, and Trukhan’s illustrations offer practical examples: One child gives up their spot in line for the slide; another makes room at the lunch table. Trukhan’s illustrations are reminiscent of Byron Barton’s, featuring bold, block colors and geometric foundations. The book is inclusive of people with many different skin and hair colors, and it also depicts one child with a cochlear implant and another who walks with forearm crutches. Trukhan’s companion title, Kindess Counts 123, with text by R.A. Strong, echoes both this title’s theme and its inclusivity. While none of the content in either book is particularly revelatory, it is still meaningful and nicely presented.

It’s all very obvious, but there’s no harm in harping on kindness. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-651-3

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Highlights Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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