Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed.

LITTLE SEED

A LIFE

The life story of a seed is set in a biblical context.

Readers are introduced on the first page to Little Seed, who will serve as the uninspiring and often hard-to-spot main character of this tale. It floats to the ground and is buried in the soil until winter arrives and the earth freezes. Lest readers worry about Little Seed at this point, they are offered the startling—for no religious or spiritual context has been thus far established—reassurance that “God gave Little Seed everything it needed. Its hard coat protected it. Little Seed was safe.” When spring comes, Little Seed’s softened shell splits open, and a sprout and roots begin to grow. At this point, the illustrations present several small seedlings, making it impossible to even identify Little Seed. When summer rolls around, Little Seed has become a sunflower that must reproduce in fall to fulfill its destiny. The final page spread attempts to tie everything together by offering a quotation referencing gardens and seeds from Isaiah 61:11. The illustrations, an unusual mixture of realism and impressionism, are plagued by inconsistencies. The permanent fixtures of Little Seed’s background, for example, seem to change from season to season, though presumably it remains rooted in the same spot.

Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9854090-7-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Graham Blanchard

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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EGG

A graciously illustrated rhyming ode to eggs.

Wrapped in its own firm shell, this compact board book has a solid padded cover and opens onto stiff, matte cardboard pages. Creamy white backgrounds highlight each page’s avian-related vignette, ranging from a greenish-gold “shiny egg” to a “dotted egg” with an elaborately lined, blue iridescent feather nestled in front. Though each page features an accurately drawn egg, there’s enough variation among the depictions—a large tropical flower overhanging a tiny vervain hummingbird egg; a chickadee incubating her eggs; a silly but “sweet” foil-wrapped chocolate egg—that the content feels fresh. Ink drawings in subdued colors are fine and delicate, clearly conveying the subtle differences among each bird species, and eggs and nests manage to look both fragile and solid. Related in two-word rhyming couplets consisting of one descriptor word followed by “egg,” the text achieves a smooth, catchy sound. A useful illustrated key at the back identifies the eggs, though some, like a “sea egg” identified as a great blue heron’s or those of less-familiar birds, such as the cassowary, beg for more context or even a picture of the bird itself. A tall, thin typeset keeps the focus on the lovely eggshells but is hard to read from a distance; sharp corners on the board pages make this case-bound board book unsuitable for the youngest listeners.

Egg-quisite . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-56846-351-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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If little fingers are too interactive, they will make this offering permanently inactive.

SURPRISE!

SLIDE AND PLAY SHAPES

As an orange cat explores a fanciful landscape, little ones are invited to turn, twist, or slide large buttons in this French import.

A square, circle, star, and triangle are visible through die-cut holes in the cover and interior pages corresponding to these brightly colored shapes. Within, a small orange cat (who often gets lost on the pages due to his diminutive size) meanders through the somewhat psychedelic landscape by zooming in an airplane, balancing on a leaf, and floating on a cloud. On every other double-page spread, youngsters are invited to manipulate one of the large, paper knobs, which seem to be made out of cut, stacked, and glued board pages. When the green square is twisted to the left, a panel hidden between the board pages flips up out of the top of the book, causing the birds that are painted on it to appear to fly out of the tree as if the cat has startled them. The star-shaped knob makes butterflies shoot up and to the right on another panel. Manipulating the triangle and the circle cause a palm tree to grow and the sun and a rainbow to appear, respectively. Unfortunately, the manipulatives may not stand up to abuse, particularly as children who try to replicate the “twist” that triggers the first special effect may entirely detach the star and triangle with the same action. Text offering direction and light observations appears on the verso, but Fouquier’s whimsical art in bubble-gum colors is what primarily draws the eye. While the large buttons are big enough not to cause choking-hazard concerns, their flimsy construction makes them unlikely to survive many readings by active toddlers.

If little fingers are too interactive, they will make this offering permanently inactive. (Novelty/board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-2-40802-469-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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