The vibrant insects and flowers do not need any help from the gimmick to bring together a colorful spring board book.


From the Color Wonder series

Six cheerful insects in six corresponding colors celebrate spring in this board book with a color wheel.

An upbeat, four-line rhyme introduces each insect and color as bright flowers of the corresponding color fill each double-page spread. “Wake up, LADYBUG, / Look what’s here. / Spring brings RED— / march and cheer.” A variety of insects (an orange caterpillar, a yellow bumblebee, a green grasshopper, etc.) in cute cartoony illustrations with vivid colors are introduced, one at a time, in each double spread. Toddlers will enjoy the repetition: all the insects from the previous pages are included in every new page, and the rhyme repeats “Spring brings” with each color and has an action component (wiggle, prance, hop, cheer). The word spelling the color on each page is bolded in uppercase letters and written in the corresponding color, strengthening the connection. The two scalloped wheels of different sizes on the last page may be rotated with some difficulty by a toddler. They control the changing colors within a die-cut circle at the center of a large flower on each right-hand page, but they do not emulate the sequencing on a traditional color wheel. The wheels seem advanced for babies, and even for toddlers, the device may not add much value to the book.

The vibrant insects and flowers do not need any help from the gimmick to bring together a colorful spring board book. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8720-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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An inventive and extensive counting experience that will delight youngsters.


From the Block Books series

Shaped pages help youngsters count to 10 and beyond.

Two stylish double-page spreads are devoted to each number one through 10 and then, counting by 10s, to 100. In the first spread, the right-hand side is a page-high, die-cut numeral that spills off the page; to its left, a squirrel holds an acorn. With the turn of the page, there’s a transformation. “One acorn becomes… / one oak tree!” A portion of the object, animal or person being altered is visible through the die-cut openings; a sand castle peeks through the “0” of the number 10, for instance. Once the page is turned, the background from the previous left-hand page merges with the full double-page spread. As in the earlier Alphablock (2013), the helpfulness of these visual hints is uneven. After 10, 20 caterpillars become 20 butterflies, 30 baskets of cucumbers become 30 jars of pickles, and 40 eggs become 39 chicks and one dinosaur. The whole shebang ends with 100 puzzle pieces fitting together into “one big puzzle!” in the book’s only double gatefold. Peskimo’s muted color palette and droll cartoon style works well with the playful concept. The same worries about the binding that arose with Alphablock are an issue here, but the conceit will likely appeal to older children anyway.

An inventive and extensive counting experience that will delight youngsters. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1374-3

Page Count: 94

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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