Developmentally dull; there's nothing to cheer about here.

MY LITTLE BOX OF ANIMAL BOOKS

This box proves a bust.

The long case holds four separate books; two focus on animals living on the farm and the savanna, and the others describe pets and babies. Cartoon panels provide factual tidbits. The text, though for the most part accurate, lacks the energy to inspire a young audience. “The male duck is called a drake.” An imposing photograph appears opposite the panels, containing a circle cutout with material meant to provide a tactile experience of the animal. (The gimmick often fails; the baby panda’s coat is virtually indistinguishable from the penguin chick’s fuzzy feathers). A caption supplies the appropriate sound (“The lion roars”). Unfortunately, the photographs consistently fail to convey any sense of sound; if an animal's mouth is open, it is to eat or play (the lion cub appears more interested in gnawing on a stick than making any noise at all). Poor quality of materials (foam for the pink pig) makes for a lackluster tactile experience. The touch-and-feel design leads to comically contradictory statements; the back of the container encourages this format for “young toddlers,” while a concluding note reads, “not suitable for children under 36 months.”

Developmentally dull; there's nothing to cheer about here. (Board book. 2-3) 

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-2-7338-1820-6

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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This holiday ditty misses too many beats.

THE ITSY BITSY PILGRIM

From the Itsy Bitsy series

The traditional story of the first Thanksgiving is set to the tune of “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and stars rodents instead of humans.

The titular itsy-bitsy Pilgrim, a mouse dressed in iconic Puritan garb, sails to “a home that’s new” with three other mice on the Mayflower. They build a house, shovel snow, and greet some “itsy bitsy new friends,” who are chipmunks dressed as Native Americans complete with feathered headbands, beaded necklaces, and leather clothing. While Rescek’s art is droll and lively, it is wildly idealized, and the Native Americans’ clothing does not reflect what is understood of Wampanoag attire. The companion title, The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer, presents equally buoyant scenes. The reindeer and several elves, who appear to be white children with pointed ears, help Santa (also white) prepare for his annual sleigh-ride delivery. In both books, would-be singers may struggle to fit all the words and syllables into the meter, and a couple of rhymes are extremely forced (“shop” and “job”?).

This holiday ditty misses too many beats. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6852-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep.

DEEP SEA DIVE

LIFT-THE-FLAP ADVENTURES

A diver directly recruits his audience to explore the salty sea.

Closed, the shaped cover follows the curve of the diver’s helmet; open, it evokes goggles through which readers can explore the deep. A variety of underwater creatures are revealed through lifting flaps; brief rhyming text on the undersides of the flaps provides a little informational heft. These rhymes are not distinguished by their lyricism, alas. “Jellyfish are pretty— / some glow in the dark. / But don't swim too close— / their sting leaves a mark.” The simply drawn creatures are not depicted to scale. The seahorse dominates its page, while the toothy shark appears shorter than the sea turtle. Two-toned blue backgrounds evoke waves. Space Walk uses an identical format to survey the planets (all eight of them) and is equally superficial.

The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-8525-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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