This book has virtually nothing going for it.

POLAR BEAR ROMP!

A polar bear looks for a friend.

None of the arctic foxes want to play with Teddy the polar bear. He tries searching underwater for a friend, to no avail. He doesn’t find one until he hears the splashing of a creature that’s fallen through the ice, which he somehow knows just from the sound is a female—perhaps it was a feminine splash? Teddy jumps to the rescue, and the book comes to a fairly perfunctory end. The big draw are the sliding tabs that open and close Teddy’s jaws on each spread. Little readers can make Teddy talk, cry, chomp, and smile. In a design flaw that must be unintended, Teddy’s gaping mouth unsettlingly frames the unfortunate polar bear who’s fallen through the ice, causing little readers to think perhaps that he is eating her. The sliding panels are more durable than most, but children with a habit of destroying flaps and tabs in board books will slowly wear these out as well. The illustrations are bland, with a white, gray, and blue color scheme that makes every page feel a bit ho-hum. The text is devoid of rhyme or flourish, plainly describing the events as they unfold with little flair. Feminist readers will grind their own teeth at the hoary damsel-in-distress plotline.

This book has virtually nothing going for it. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0345-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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