A cozy declaration of independence—with a caveat that’s not just for toddlers.

READ REVIEW

CHENGDU CAN DO

The roly-poly panda of Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep (2014) wakes up hungry.

Just like a toddler, Chengdu can do a lot of things “all by himself.” He can get down from his branch, jump, push and pull, climb, swing back and forth, even fly—almost. So he demonstrates in the soft-focus illustrations, though his efforts to get to the bamboo fronds that hang tantalizingly just out of reach are frustrated again and again. As in Chengdu’s first outing, Saltzberg uses artful page turns, gatefolds, and half pages to endow his grave-looking panda’s patient quest for breakfast with action and humor. Yes, Chengdu does a lot all by himself, but for some tasks, such as bending down a bamboo stalk, “there are times when Chengdu can… / use a little help.” Enter a pair of pandas, one of parental size, to lend a paw. With a narrative text that extends to just nine sentences, the book depends on the design to pace readers. Manipulating the various gatefolds slows them down to panda speed, resulting in a satisfying read-aloud.

A cozy declaration of independence—with a caveat that’s not just for toddlers. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-5847-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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