Tries to do too much and doesn’t quite succeed.


From the Tabbed Touch-and-Feel series

With the help of farm-animal friends, three little chicks bake their mother a cake and save it from ruin.

In this tactile board book, baby chickens Penny, Polly, and Molly are determined to show their love for Mama by baking her a cake. Other baby farm animals get in on the action, helping haul supplies and decorate the cake. When the enormous cake nearly topples, the chicks come up with a way to keep it intact, demonstrating to Mama both their love and their quick thinking. What’s unclear from the story is what makes these three chicks the titular “tough.” They’re certainly quick, innovative, and persistent, but beyond the cutesy play on words, it doesn’t mean much. The book includes various touch-and-feel elements: a fluffy foal’s tail and a fun-to-touch sticky spot of cake frosting. There are, however, unnecessary tabs on the right-hand side of the book. A little mouse appears before each page turn with reader-participation questions. “Can you moooo like a calf?” it asks. These mostly work, but they’re not needed. Suber’s illustrations are sweet, the animals cartoonish. They help explain and move the story along, particularly showing how the cake is saved at the end. Mostly there is just too much: tabs, flaps, participatory directions, touch-and-feel elements. Less would have been more.

Tries to do too much and doesn’t quite succeed. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-358-12653-9

Page Count: 12

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations.


Little bunnies prepare for the definitive bunny holiday.

Bunnies prepare for Easter in this board book. In verse set to the cadence of “This Little Piggy,” bunnies go to market, bake a cake, paint eggs, weave a basket, and do all sorts of other things to get ready for Easter. Rescek’s illustrations take full advantage of spring’s color palette, employing purples, pinks, oranges, and blues and incorporating striped and spotted ovals evoking Easter eggs. Little readers learning about the Easter Bunny for the first time will be delighted to get a peek at the process bunnies may go through to prepare for Easter and how it mirrors activities they perform with their parents.

This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0105-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Pretty but ephemeral.


This board-book entry in the competitive-loving genre features silhouettes of animal parent-child pairs against variously colored nighttime scenes.

Each spread begins with the same question, presumably voiced by the child: “How much do you love me?” The parent’s response reaches for lyricism, not always successfully, and always includes a comparative statement. “I love you more than the moon’s glowing light,” says the parent rabbit in the first spread, while the elephant parent avows, “I love you more than all the stars at night,” in the second, establishing the rhyming pattern. Other animals include whales, monkeys, penguins, owls, wolves, and cats; each animal in the pair is labeled with the generic for the adult and the specialized term for that animal’s young for the child. Patane’s scenes are striking enough, the black animals and foreground settings making for striking contrast with the scenery in the background. Lloyd’s verse scans fine, but it can seem desperate, as when the owl responds, “I love you more than the fluffiest feathers,” in order to rhyme with the penguin’s “I love you more than snowy weather.” The book is weighted down by its final page, which holds a battery that allows readers to illuminate the moon on the cover with tiny LED bulbs when an icon is pressed. Despite this gimmick, this book feels little different from many of its peers.

Pretty but ephemeral. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4654-8016-3

Page Count: 18

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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