A delightful celebration of friendship and fancy.

BLANKIE

From the Narwhal and Jelly series

Narwhal and his jellyfish sidekick, Jelly, see just how much joy a simple thing can bring if they use a little imagination.

When Jelly remarks on Narwhal’s new “blankie,” Narwhal points out that it’s not just a blanket—it can do so much more. In fact, Narwhal’s blankie is amazingly versatile. It’s a blanket! It’s a hankie! And, of course, after sneezing into it, one can fashion it into a hat and wear it on one’s head. Mounted on a stick, it makes a dandy flag; gathered in a knot, it doubles as a bag. Blankie is a great place to host a picnic; it can also be worn as a cape or a dress. But Blankie’s best feature, Narwhal points out, is that it’s big enough for two—a cozy, warm place to snuggle with a friend. The two friends swim and play against an all-white background that accentuates their delightful expressions and chemistry. A few well-placed motion lines and Blankie’s various permutations provide the rest of the story in Clanton’s successful adaptation of his Narwhal and Jelly books for school-age readers. The characters’ loosely rhymed dialogue unfolds in fast-paced, breezy jokes, and a good-natured sense of play permeates the proceedings. The contemporaneously published volume Bubbles is similarly charming and manages one of the few fart jokes (kids love ’em) that one might arguably describe as clever.

A delightful celebration of friendship and fancy. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6678-0

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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