Unusually rich in wordplay as well as visual drollery.


From the Flip Flap Snap! series

A split-page format invites mixing and matching pop-up beaks and muzzles on five farm animals.

Thanks to vertical labels placed as artfully as the central pop-ups, a “cow” gives way in predictable fashion to a “dog,” a “rooster,” “pig,” and so on—or, if just one of the sturdy half pages is turned, a “dow” or “row,” “pog” or “cooster,” etc., with likewise silly mismatched faces and bodies. The cog gazes earnestly out at viewers, wide eyes above a pop-up bovine nose on top, a pop-up border collie’s lower jaw, complete with canines and tongue, meeting it on the bottom. “MOO! WOLF!” it says. The rig is caught in full “COCK-A-OINK! the porcine lower jaw open wide beneath the top portion of the rooster’s beak. Along with comical sound effects, conventional or otherwise (“COCK-A-MOO!”), two flaps on each spread lift to reveal sprightly (uncredited) rhymes: “Out in the meadows / I chew and I munch. / Flowers and weeds / I will eat by the bunch!” The goat’s declaration that “my four sturdy hooves / help me climb to the sky” may require some adult amplification since Saldaña depicts the animal standing in a meadow, but that’s the only mismatch here that won’t set the Oshkosh set to giggling. The stock is fairly sturdy, so the book stands a good chance of lasting through a few careful spins through the permutations.

Unusually rich in wordplay as well as visual drollery. (Pop-up picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5082-3

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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


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

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.


You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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