Far too busy but will likely entertain most toddlers anyway.

TOUGH CHICKS TO THE RESCUE!

From the Tabbed Touch-and-Feel series

This tabbed, touch-and-feel board book is loaded with features.

There is plenty for tots to touch, from the titular tough chicks’ “feathers,” which resemble shag carpeting more than avian plumage, to sheep’s wool, cowhide, and a mire of sticky mud. Each sturdy page is tabbed, with a picture on each tab of a character who appears in the indexed scene. Every scene is a two-page spread; the final tableau also has a third, fold-out panel. As the illustrations occupy two pages, it is often difficult to know if the book’s text is meant to be read across both pages or down one page, then the other. A little mouse in each scene challenges children to act out deeds of the tough chicks, disrupting the narrative flow. Unfortunately, the challenges don’t involve anything like derring-do, nor are they ironically sedate; instead, they seem unrelated to toughness altogether, missing the mark. “Are you tough enough to flap your wings like Polly?” “Are you tough enough to Cockadoodledooooo like the rooster?” The illustrations do convey action; pictures of one chick breaking out wildly oversized binoculars or another using a tractor to yank a comically large cow from a mud puddle are dynamic, funny, and best suggest toughness in the pint-sized protagonists.

Far too busy but will likely entertain most toddlers anyway. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-45057-9

Page Count: 12

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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