B IS FOR BANANAS

An a-peeling alphabet adventure.

This anthropomorphic banana is NOT ready for bed.

The protagonist of Counting to Bananas (2022) returns to explore the alphabet. “A is for awake,” announces the narrator. “B is for bedtime.” But our hero wants B to be for banana; the narrator points out that this is a bedtime book. Banana is not having any of that and suggests that C should be for Banana (Captain Banana the pirate, that is). Still, Banana bathes (“D is for Dirty”), uses the potty (“G is for Going”), and brushes their teeth (“I is for Incisors”)…but when the narrator announces “L is for Listening,” Banana has finally had enough and takes over, pencil in hand, and crosses out all the bedtime words, replaces them with more playful fare, and acts each out in Banana-edited illustrations. Q isn’t for quiet but quarterback. R isn’t for relax but robot. Humoring Banana, the narrator announces that “S is for Scary,” as in stories. Banana backs down, frightened, and the bedtime words return and end with one “zonked” Banana. Exuberant Banana has as much fun taking control of the alphabet as they did taking over counting. Lourenço returns with digitally created illustrations full of Banana’s bonkers energy and plenty of color. Speech balloons are used throughout as Banana argues with the narrator. Banana might end up tuckered out, but little listeners will probably be supercharged with giggles. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An a-peeling alphabet adventure. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52806-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

ANIMAL SHAPES

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 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Close Quickview