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

READ REVIEW

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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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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Pass on this weak offering.

WHERE IS FLUFFY?

From the My First Stories series

A predictable board-book mystery.

The mystery involves a common childhood crisis—a lost toy. Ho’s trademark round-headed animals stand in for humans with a range of emotions, from the persistently worried Little Bunny to grumpy Pig. Each barnyard animal offers the distraught bunny a comforting alternative to his blanket, “Fluffy.” Finally, when Mouse admits to borrowing Fluffy for a snuggle, Little Bunny forgives him surprisingly quickly because, “I love my Fluffy for snuggling too.” The rhyming text presents problems—either by not actually rhyming (lost/most; fur/near) or falling inconsistently, making end rhymes unpredictable and less than useful in a book for pre-readers. Instead of letting the pictures tell the story, superfluous speaker attributions make this a tedious read-aloud and impede the rhyme: “ ‘I'll search the pond for your Fluffy,’ says Duck. / ‘I've looked underwater already. No luck!’ Fish tells Little Bunny.” The various flaps, foil inserts, and very small tactile elements are not intriguing enough to rescue the story. The tiny patch of wolf fur peeking through the page with the lambs is easily missed (and is disconcertingly far away from the picture of the wolf). Perhaps out of concern for the safety of the lamb, the wolf does not appear on the next page. No similar caution is shown when the owl shares a page with its prey. Do owls not eat chicks wearing spectacles?

Pass on this weak offering. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-2-7338-3235-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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