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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A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books

BIG FISH LITTLE FISH

From the My Little World series

A mix of marine-life fact and fiction introduces opposites.

With its iconic shape, the eye-catching cover cutout of a bright-orange fish is instantly appealing. Layered die cuts of decreasing size provide texture and handholds for little fingers and form the bodies of varying species of fish. Information about fish habits and habitats is crammed into wordy rhymes with the opposing terms in boldface, but the accuracy of those facts is debatable. Though it’s fair to call the eel “long and very wiggly,” contrasting it with a generic, short yellow fish that’s a rhyme-forced “giggly” introduces a jarring anthropomorphism. In fact, stereotypical human emotions or motivations are attributed to the fish on almost every page. On another page, the slow fish (the only fish not painted with a smile) says, “Even with a big head start, I knew I'd finish last”—a distressingly defeatist message in an otherwise cheery board book. Inexplicably, the final spread depicts all the fish in party hats—turning it into a birthday book. While this may extend its use in day cares, it doesn't help young children learn opposites.

A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58925-215-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Bound to put a smile on readers’ faces.

THIS IS A BOOK OF SHAPES

As the title says, this is a book of shapes—but with a little touch of whimsy.

A goofy-looking emu on the cover, with wispy feathers in beautiful shades of purple and turquoise, forewarns readers there is more to the book than simple shapes. And it delivers. The first spread presents a wood-grained green circle against a white background and a simple, straightforward statement: “This is a circle.” Next comes a red square and “This is a square.” Next, a blue triangle and “This is a triangle.” Next comes an emu. An emu? The deadpan narration announces, “This is an emu pushing a pancake wagon down the hill.” Readers are now in the know; what other quirky appearances might there be? The book does not disappoint. Interspersed with other basic shapes, a porpoise reading knock-knock jokes and a skateboarding rhinoceros also show up in the same matter-of-fact way. Being in on the joke, children will have no difficulty accepting the juxtaposition of simple shapes and silly animal antics as perfectly sensible. But when a plain pineapple makes an appearance, readers will agree with the author: “What is that doing here?” The final spread shows animals and shapes but no pineapple—after all, it doesn’t belong here—having fun at the beach.

Bound to put a smile on readers’ faces. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0701-9

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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