Give this race the red flag.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

A brown dog uses all sorts of fantastical vehicles to chase a pink cat through an interactive board book.

A blue mouse and a whistle-wielding parrot in a striped shirt also share each spread. On the first and last pages, additional cartoon critters cheer them on. The competition starts as a footrace before moving to cars, boats, a train, planes, and spaceships. Angry facial expressions clearly show the dog’s irritation with the cat’s consistent lead while also inadvertently suggesting that a pink character’s success is somehow unnatural. Halting, uneven rhymes never quite get up to speed. Vague instructions on the back cover to “Use the holes on each page to pop up, wiggle, and surprise your youngest readers” give little clue as to how exactly fingers should be placed. The holes are not consistently spaced; because there are often holes on either side of the gutter, it is not possible to deploy all at one time. The design appears to take no account of what is glimpsed through the holes, and they often reveal a confusing jumble rather than leading to a well-planned surprise or even simply giving a hint as to what will be seen when the page is turned. Active children are likely to take advantage of the die-cut holes to turn pages before the text can be read. The final “everyone wins” message makes for a disappointing, confusing finish.

Give this race the red flag. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9218-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Clean design and invitations to action will help young builders become readers—expect to find this book in the sand box or...

NOISY NOISY DIGGER

From the My Little World series

This busy board book introduces five colors, five construction vehicles, and five physical movements.

Each spread begins with the same two couplets: “Noisy Yellow Digger meets someone new. / ‘What is your name and what do you do?’ ” An orange crane, green steamroller, blue dump truck, and red bulldozer each reply, “I’ll show you what I do....” Behind a full-page flap, each truck uses simple, first-person language to explain its basic function in relation to the yellow digger. On the opposite side of the now-open flap cheerful construction-worker bears invite child readers to mimic each vehicle’s action. Opening the flap also produces a truck sound that plays briefly. (The book’s speaker is in the rear cover, so readers may need to take care not to muffle it.) A radio appears with all the vehicles on the final spread, and the flap opens to reveal the bears dancing. The sounds seem almost incidental; the book’s strengths are clear, consistent illustrations and repetitive language. For example, the scene changes with each page, but the digger is always the same, and details (a bee, butterfly, or cloud) shown on the closed page can be found in the same place when the flap is opened. Small print on the back cover cautions that the sounds are light-activated, which makes this a poor choice for bedtime.

Clean design and invitations to action will help young builders become readers—expect to find this book in the sand box or on the road rug. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5892-5242-4

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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This arbitrary collection of things that go really goes nowhere.

THINGS THAT GO VROOM

A BOOK OF VEHICLES

Twenty-four vehicles are each depicted on a single page with one sentence that describes what that vehicle does.

Unfortunately, very few of the vehicles in this board book actually go “vroom.” Instead, a “helicopter zooms through the sky,” and a “ferryboat carries people across a river.” While the level of detail presented is about right for very young children, the creators missed an opportunity to also describe the characteristic sound of each vehicle. Such descriptions would have made this book of motorized conveyances a satisfyingly noisy and interactive reading experience. Mack's greeting-card–cute illustrations are generic to the point of blandness. All the vehicles are driven by racially diverse figures with toylike, identical smiles. The only illustration that shows movement or speed is a view from above of race cars on a track. All the other images are shown from the side, reduced to their essential shapes. Sometimes the scenes shown on facing pages share a skyline, but the roads these vehicles travel on are not connected. On the page with a police car that “whizzes by on a high speed chase,” the car being chased is not even on the same road. The final two-page spread reviews all the vehicles shown earlier.

This arbitrary collection of things that go really goes nowhere. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4114-7589-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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