FIND THE CUTES

PLAYTIME

In this debut kids’ book featuring colorful, highly detailed illustrations, a young girl must find her four lost siblings.
 The Cute family consists of Mr. and Mrs. Cute and their five children. Early on, the book offer brief introductions of each child; for example, “Cammy loves everything that’s cute, and is crazy about animals,” while “Cade loves to read and figure out scientific facts.” Mr. and Mrs. Cute go out for the day and ask their 12-year-old daughter, Carissa, to keep an eye on her younger siblings. But there’s a problem: Carissa gets busy texting her friends and forgets to watch them—and her adventure-seeking brothers and sisters run off. The book then asks readers to help Carissa find them in 12 havoc-packed scenes. Among the places where Carissa must seek out her charges are a birthday party, a fair, a campground, a supermarket and a toy store. Adding to the fun is a host of humorous visual touches on each page, such as a boy with a fake fin on his head in a swimming pool, a group of children hypnotized by a picture of a black-and-white spiral, a frog in a pond doing the backstroke and a smiling pelican holding his great beak open for a boy to look inside. An art-studio setting features a wall of famous paintings that some children may recognize. Halfway through the book, the Cute family gathers at the dinner table, where the kids discuss their favorite experiences thus far; unfortunately, Celestial Noot’s stiff prose simply doesn’t do justice to Vincent Noot’s fine illustrations: “I loved the petting zoo. There were lots of animals there. I rode a horsey, I caught a frog, and I pet the sheep. They are so fluffy!” To keep young readers busy, however, there’s a list of items to find on each page; a handy answer section at the back shows the locations of all the children and items. If only Mr. and Mrs. Cute had a book like this to keep their pack from wandering.
A fun, engaging seek-and-find book despite its awkward prose.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-0991441501

Page Count: 36

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2014

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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