A natural for group storytimes, though plenty of single tots will enjoy seeing Tom’s seemingly quotidian world suddenly...

READ REVIEW

MY BIKE

Barton (My Car, 2001; My Bus, 2014) wheels out another conveyance—but sends this one rolling past a set of escalating surprises to a high-wire climax.

Following introductions and a view of his bicycle with its major parts labeled, Tom climbs aboard and pedals off “to work.” He sets up expectations of a perfectly ordinary ride by passing predictable parades of trucks, then buses, then cars and finally “lots of people.” These are knocked askew as successive page turns show him going on to pass…monkeys, then acrobats, then caged tigers and lions. His commute finishing at a tent, Tom then steps inside to don a loudly decorated “uniform,” paint his face with clown makeup, climb a ladder and go “to work // on my unicycle. / Look! No hands!” Rendered in saturated colors with thick, slightly wobbly digital strokes, the illustrations are characteristically simple enough to decipher easily either close up or at a distance. Lines of equally legible text are printed in a bold sans serif, split into short phrases and printed against sharply contrasting backgrounds.

A natural for group storytimes, though plenty of single tots will enjoy seeing Tom’s seemingly quotidian world suddenly transformed. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-233699-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This clumsily executed extended dance metaphor doesn’t make the cut.

FLAMINGO FLAMENCO

Everybody can dance? Silly wordplay delivers a not-so-subtle message to value each person’s unique moves.

The brief story plays off the similar pronunciations of “flamingo” and “flamenco” but does not confine itself to that dance form, introducing seven different sorts of animal and an equal number of different dances. On the versos of the ensuing sequence of six double-page spreads, hippos dance hip-hop, wallabies waltz, tigers tap, a bear performs ballet, “camels can cancan in a long chorus line,” and sloths slow dance; a flamboyant flamingo on the right side of each spread outshines each with flamenco moves. Unfortunately, the book itself does not shine. A design decision to introduce the animals in a different order than originally shown is confusing, and the animals seem to have been chosen for their alliterative possibilities and improbable dance skills rather than for genuine animal characteristics. Toddlers unfamiliar with dance styles will not appreciate the flamingo’s contortions, much less the other animals’ moves, especially in their dance costumes. The rhyming text lacks rhythm; words and pictures don’t always match. For example, one bear is shown while the text reads “bears.” The ending, with the animals changing partners and the lines “We each have a dance, / so dance well your part. / Dance with all of your heart… / …even if it’s not the flamenco,” lands with something of a thud.

This clumsily executed extended dance metaphor doesn’t make the cut. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64170-235-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more