McLachlan shows an astute understanding of how to produce belly laughs in the young; this funny read-aloud would also be a...

WHAT NOISE DO I MAKE?

Canadian artist McLachlan creates a new twist on the often pedestrian visualizations of animal noises depicted in many picture books in this genre.

Calling the bluff on this type of book by implicitly acknowledging that of course the actual noises animals make cannot truly be represented in text and pictures, the artist creates a lively template for young readers and their adults to improvise and vocalize the sounds of all kinds of animals, from the ordinary cats and dogs to the extremely unusual, including pangolin, kookaburra, aye-aye, and tamarin. One or two simple, cartoonlike, vividly and often fancifully colored illustrations of animals are shown on each page, with an expressive speech bubble approximating the animal’s sound—except when the sound does not portray the expected animal. What says, “Bark! Bark! ARF! ARF!”? A seal, of course! A horse and a zebra kind of look the same, but the horse says, “NEIGH,” and the zebra says, “squirp squirp.” Suspense is created when an animal is shown silent on one page, only to make a huge noise on the next. Then there is the mysterious giraffe, which says nothing for several pages and reappears at the end with a comment from a parrot: “giraffes can talk but usually don’t.”

McLachlan shows an astute understanding of how to produce belly laughs in the young; this funny read-aloud would also be a terrific prelude to a zoo visit. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77147-150-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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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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