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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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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SNACK TIME

From the Noah's Park series , Vol. 3

Six little animal babies spend the day at Noah’s Park.

A baby dog, bear, cat, panda, pig, and snail in colorful onesies and overalls are planning a day in Noah’s Park. As they all sit or stand in a group looking out at readers, the unrelated text above them says “Explore, swing, dance, and jump….” A gatefold flap—which is always a crowd-pleaser with toddlers—reveals they’ve decided to sail away. They put on their life jackets, pack a snack, and off they go. The sweet-looking, cartoony animals board a pink-and-blue–checkered boat, from which they see ducks and ducklings bobbing to and fro. They take a break, feed the ducks, have their own snack, and sail back home. There really is not much action in the book, as the animals just sit or stand around, in spite of the action indicated at the beginning. Even at the end when the text says, “Let’s clean up and sing a god-bye tune,” they are just standing in the boat looking out at the ducks. Hopefully, real toddlers will have more engaging days than the one depicted in this board book.

Sweet but dull. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4263-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

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