The age-appropriate new vocabulary and the clever design will prompt hours of study by aspiring paleontologists; the sturdy...

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DINOBLOCK

From the Block Books series

At a hefty 96 pages and 2 inches thick, this dinofest will be a challenge for little hands to lift, but the subject matter is sure to intrigue for longer than most board books.

“Meet the Dinosaurs” announces the banner across the opening illustration of a museum entrance. Then gatefolds open over 20 inches across with the questions “Who are the dinosaurs? Where are the dinosaurs?” below a museum diorama. Subsequent pages provide the answers using an effective formula: a one-line simile comparing a dinosaur to something a child might recognize, a die-cut page that highlights a characteristic of that dinosaur, then a page turn that reveals the name of the dinosaur and its phonetic pronunciation. The final gatefolds open to reveal the skeletons of each of the 23 dinosaurs introduced. A blonde Caucasian girl and a dark-skinned boy serve as the museum tour guides. Some of the comparisons are rather obscure; the spikes of a stegosaurus are compared to tents on a hill, for instance. The book will raise as many questions as it answers—for example, the dinosaurs are portrayed in varied colors, yet there is no explanation as to how scientists have determined their coloring or other features—paving the way for investigation of the topic in greater detail as readers age.

The age-appropriate new vocabulary and the clever design will prompt hours of study by aspiring paleontologists; the sturdy construction ensures the book will survive them. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1674-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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