Clear, uncluttered design makes this age-appropriate board book useful, especially for young fans of big machines.

COLORS ON THE FARM

From the Tractor Mac series

The latest Tractor Mac board book uses tractors, farm animals, and farm products to teach young children seven basic colors.

Naturally, to illustrate red, the color of Tractor Mac, the protagonist is presented, along with a rooster and barn. Likewise, yellow Carl and green Lucy take turns with other items that share their hues. Sadly, pink and brown are not tractor colors. No matter. Pink is illustrated with a pink radish, a rose, and a pig, while a potato, a goat, and a horse show off brown. A blue truck is shown towing Tractor Mac on a trailer, while orange excavator Doug does unrelated construction work. On the verso of each spread, smaller objects are clearly labeled against a corresponding solid color background. The recto displays the main text and the tractor (or substitute) against a white background. Every label and sentence starts with the name of a color and ends with a rhyme. For example, “Orange is a pumpkin. / Orange is a gourd. / Orange is Doug, who never gets bored.” Each of the machines, as well as the pig and horse, is given a name and assigned human traits. This personification is initially confusing but won’t bother fans of the series.

Clear, uncluttered design makes this age-appropriate board book useful, especially for young fans of big machines. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30633-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for...

HELLO LAMB

This simple board book invites little ones to greet baby farm animals (including frog, bunny, and bee) with their corresponding sounds.

The first double-page spread greets readers with a bright yellow smiling sun and the text “Hello, Sun. / Hello, Day. / Wake up, babies. / Time to play!” Each succeeding spread has a distinct, gently patterned background, with very brief text on the verso (“Hello Puppy! / Woof Woof”). Filling up the recto is a vibrant illustration of the baby animal’s face, wide eyed and smiling, outlined in black. The final spread presents the face of a cute baby with chalky brown-gray skin, bright black eyes, and short black hair: “Goo Goo.” Babies and toddlers will enjoy looking at the baby faces, animals and human, and repeating the sounds. A companion book, Goodnight Bear, has a similar pattern of text and illustrations, though the palette is suitably darker. The moon, surprisingly, has its eyes shut, and succeeding spreads depict an owlet, a baby bat, a baby hedgehog, and other familiar nocturnal baby animals, all wide-awake and smiling. The final spread depicts a cute baby with pale skin, blond hair, and closed eyes.

It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for the target audience. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0430-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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