Little readers learn some animal idioms.
Caregivers know the phrases “sly as a fox” and “blind as a bat,” and this board book tries its best to introduce these and other animal idioms to little readers. The resulting read is a disjointed affair: an extreme close-up of a minimally detailed, black-and-white animal’s face takes up one full page on recto, while the opposite page offers simple, rhyming clues to the animal idiom. When readers turn the page they are greeted with a full, detailed, full-color view of the animal. Although the facial features from the previous page are printed on its verso, the relationship between minimalist and full-color versions will be hazy at best to a board-book audience. The initial views purposely give little clue to the creature’s identity, and given the audience’s limited experience, the textual clues aren’t much help either. “Quick and cheeky, / smart and sneaky. / I’m sly as a… / Fox.” While the book succeeds in introducing new vocabulary, it does so in such a decontextualized way that toddlers are unlikely to be able to make use of it. Die-cut peek-through holes (an ox’s nostrils; the joint of a clam’s shell) provide some continuity but seem more gimmick than anything else.
A misfire. (Board book. 1-3)