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RAINDROPS FALL ALL AROUND

From the Springtime Weather Wonders series

Spring rains fall on a variety of happy animals in this rhyming board book.

Rhyming text that doesn't mesh with the pictures makes this a disappointing outing. Mostly the rhymes work but sometimes at the expense of scansion: some lines have seven syllables and some have eight, so the rhythm doesn’t always flow. The presentation of ideas seems mostly to be made in service of the rhyming couplets rather than meaningful internal relationships. For example, with “A flowing creek fills up with rain / Rain seeps down into the drain,” the juxtaposition of a creek and a drain simply does not make sense. More significantly, the rhyming text is mismatched with the greeting-card illustrations. Individually, the illustrations are cute, but there is no continuity. The pictures that work best parallel the text, but when an animal is not specifically named, the choices seem arbitrary if not downright peculiar: the smiling, rain-soaked cats seem especially unlikely. This book and its companion titles (Hail to Spring, Sunshine Brightens Springtime, and A Windy Day in Spring) are certainly cheerful, but they are also forgettable.

Skip. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4795-6042-4

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A well-meant miss.

THE LITTLE RECYCLER

A little boy takes an active role in recycling and reusing in this lift-the-flap tale.

The boy, along with a couple of young friends, demonstrates cleaning and sorting recyclables, donating unwanted clothes and toys, and reusing other materials for various projects. While this is a noble effort, the rhyming text, which appears on the outside of and under each flap, does not scan well: “Clink, clink, clink. Into each bin– / BOTTLES, / PAPER, / PLASTIC, / TIN.” Some of the concepts above and below each flap have a clear relationship to one another: A large cardboard box is empty above the flap and reused as a toy boat below the flap. Other concepts do not connect quite as well: The plastic (above the flap) and “tin” cans (under the flap) look to be going into the same bin, but the next page shows them carefully sorted into their own separate bins. The cover may also confuse little ones, and a few grown-ups too, since it mostly shows materials to be reused (toys and clothes to be donated), not recycled. The flat, friendly and soft-hued cartoons look to be a mix of digital art over collaged backgrounds of reused materials. Other titles in the Teenie Greenies series, which are printed on recycled paper with soy ink, tackle gardening, composting and transportation alternatives with greater clarity.

A well-meant miss. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86172-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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A charming, not-so-simple board book that will surely engage.

FLY!

From the TouchThinkLearn series

A bird embarks on a long journey.

In the first double-page spread, a yellow bird arrives at the foot of a tall tree after what the text calls “a very long journey,” but her story is far from over. As she makes a home in her tree and then a family with a red bird who joins her, this board book explores the circle of life. The book’s illustrations are large and rounded, mostly circles or half-circles, enhancing that “circle of life” theme. The book holds removable play pieces that can be slotted into the compositions in different ways. For example, a round yellow piece symbolizing the sun can be taken, flipped, and inserted into a recess in the picture opposite as the bushy round crown of a tree. Each double-page spread offers at least one removable piece to be fitted into the opposite page; they do not require carrying over into subsequent spreads. The interactive play is a perfect spice to a simple story that will delight little ones. The pieces aren’t dangerously tiny, but some will inevitably make their ways under the couch or become stuck between cushions. Luckily the compositions still work well enough without them.

A charming, not-so-simple board book that will surely engage. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5922-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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