Feathery fun for little ones.

DUCKS ON THE ROAD

A COUNTING ADVENTURE

A family of ducks enjoys a country outing—with a sweet surprise.

After frolicking in a pretty blue pond surrounded by colorful flowers, Mama and Papa Duck and their 10 ducklings set out on a bucolic stroll. The 10th duckling in line stops to greet Frog, and now there are nine. The ninth duckling stops to greet Mouse, and now there are eight. Greetings to Squirrel, Rabbit, Cat, Dog, Pig, Sheep, Owl, and another duckling follow, and finally the number of little ducks in line dwindles to none. Mama and Papa finally notice with alarm. But not to worry. The ducklings reform their row with all their newfound friends and a quacking addition. Now there are 11 ducklings, and the duck family ends up back in the pond surrounded by a very noisy menagerie. Little listeners can have fun counting along and making all the different animal sounds. Lobel’s pastel-hued illustrations are bright and cheerful. They have a folk-art feel that’s reinforced by flat perspectives and gently stylized trees with perfectly spherical crowns; the rolling hills in many backgrounds recall Wanda Gág’s or Virginia Lee Burton’s work. The text does not include numerals, but the number words are flagged in colored type, and the fuzzy yellow ducklings are easy to count. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.3-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 31.5% of actual size.)

Feathery fun for little ones. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6592-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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