It won’t be difficult at all to find eager readers for this book. (Picture book. 2-4)

READ REVIEW

WHERE'S THE BABY?

“I spy” fun for little ones.

Rhyming text (uncredited) invites readers to scan pages illustrated with groups of animals in order to find a baby animal hidden among the rest. Elephants adorn the cover and title page, and then parrots, orcas, hens, sea horses, snails, and other creatures populate subsequent spreads. Representative quatrains read, “With trumpeting trunks / and thundering feet, / elephants march through / the still desert heat. / And right by his mom / with his skin just as gray, / is an elephant calf / who is ready to play.” The repetitive, orderly, arrangements of the animals on the pages makes finding the baby on each one satisfyingly challenging, as does the limited color contrast between background colors and animals on many spreads. Excellent design allows layout changes to enhance visual interest, with some double-page spreads including both art and (uncredited) text, and others isolating the text to one page and the art to another, for example. Until the final spread, which shows animals of varied sizes together, the uniform scale of the individual animals makes the illustrations seem as though they’d be at home on children’s clothing fabrics or nursery décor. That last spread reveals all the parent-and-baby pairs from prior spreads and gives readers a little, final surprise to culminate the search-and-find interactivity of the book as a whole.

It won’t be difficult at all to find eager readers for this book. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9901-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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