From the Block Books series

Sure to inspire calls of “READ IT AGAIN!” (Board book. 1-3)

A chunky board book with ingenious gatefolds, flaps, die-cuts, and construction trucks galore.

Like its series predecessors, this title has ample toddler appeal. Not only is its construction-site theme a passion for many children, its bold colors and thoughtful design will engage little hands and eyes as they pore over the pages. After the first two spreads show a wrecking ball smashing and crashing to open the book, two children peer out, asking, “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?” and “CAN I LOOK, TOO?” Their pages open up as side-by-side gatefolds to reveal a vast scene with “SO MANY TRUCKS! SO MANY WORKERS!” Subsequent spreads home in on individual vehicles plied by racially diverse workers and their respective roles in building up a city block. Layout includes gatefolds that open vertically up and down as well as horizontally left and right, and many pages are shaped to visually echo the vehicles and objects depicted. While such familiar fare as a bulldozer, dump truck, and a crane appear, less-common vehicles and equipment emerge as well, with some of the more dramatic gatefolds and die-cuts revealing a tunnel borer, a massive bridge builder that spans valleys, and sky cranes hovering above like superpowered helicopters. The book culminates as workers take a lunch break and then throw themselves back into work to “BUILD, BUILD, BUILD ALL OVER TOWN!”

Sure to inspire calls of “READ IT AGAIN!” (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2569-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018


A perfect piece of treasure it is not, but shiver me timbers, it’s fun.

Two pirates and their parrot companion embark on adventures to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Following Car, Car, Truck, Jeep (2018), Charman and Sharratt team up again for this swashbuckling, musical tale. The two buccaneers and their parrot spend a day at sea engaged in such maritime activities as scrubbing the deck and hoisting the sail along with quintessentially piratical chores like digging up buried treasure. At the end of the day—which culminates in a nonviolent walk across the plank—the two pirates return home. Charman’s rhyming text has a nice cadence, and thanks to the cover note to sing along to the tune of “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat,” it moves along at a nice clip. For the most part, the rhymes work neatly into the tune so that it reads easily the first time through. Sharratt’s black-outlined illustrations are boldly colored and eye-catching. The pirates themselves are not obviously gendered; one presents white and the other has light-brown skin. Most of the ocean creatures have anthropomorphized features—a mostly successful choice with the exception of the jellyfish and octopus, shown awkwardly with humanlike noses and smiles (and, oddly, eyebrows for the octopus). Overall, this one holds high appeal for little readers, and the nature of the singsong-y, rhyming text will make it a highly requested reread.

A perfect piece of treasure it is not, but shiver me timbers, it’s fun. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0319-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020


Short, sweet, and engaging; a sing-along introduction to furry first responders.

“The Wheels on the Bus” gets an extra syllable, a siren, a hose, and a snazzy new ladder.

This variation on the popular children’s song should hit the spot with budding truck aficionados among the diapered set. The text is a straight adaptation of “The Wheels on the Bus,” with firetruck and firefighting themes replacing the sights and sounds of a bus rider’s commute. The siren goes “Woo-woo-woo,” the lights go “Flash, flash, flash,” the riders “hold on tight,” the ladder goes “up, up, up,” and the hose, of course, goes “swish-swish-swish—now, the fire’s out.” The book won’t win awards for originality, but it should be a toddler pleaser. The colors on the cover are an explosion of reflective red foil against a bright yellow background; the interior colors are more muted but still bright and cheery. The firefighters and onlookers are anthropomorphic animals in firefighter costume or civvies, as the case may be. Characters include a racoon, some bunnies, a fox, and a woodchuck, among others, all rendered in an accessible, cartoony style. Between the bright colors and the smiling gameness of the furry firefighters, the proceedings should excite and delight most tots. 

Short, sweet, and engaging; a sing-along introduction to furry first responders. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4244-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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