Illustrations make this lyrical tale of the Indian jungle really shine.

RUM PUM PUM

Deep in an Indian jungle, a lonely tiger longs for friends.

Although he claims to be friendly, Tiger’s sharp claws, huge teeth, and fearsome growl scare off his fellow creatures. All this changes when Tiger discovers a drum left beneath a sal tree. Tiger doesn’t know what the drum is—it’s a human invention, after all—but notices that when he taps it with his tail, it makes a delightful rum pum pum sound. Carrying his new, rhythmic “friend” with him, Tiger wanders through the forest. Before long, the drum’s rum pum pum attracts a monkey, a rhinoceros, a parrot, a chameleon, and an elephant, all of whom layer their own, distinctive sounds over the beat of Tiger’s drum. The group walks along happily for a time, but the company threatens to disintegrate when the animals fight over Tiger’s drum. Luckily, at just the right moment, a young boy steps into the fray and, with the help of some drumming, saves the day. The book’s earth-toned illustrations are stunning: Each page is packed with movement and atmosphere, and the characters’ faces are wonderfully expressive. The text is poetic, rhythmic, and, at times, humorous. While the story arc feels underdeveloped—it is not clear how the animals walking together created the deep friendship referenced on the book’s final page or how the Tiger’s drumming cured the animals’ fear of him—the language is a pleasure to read aloud. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8-by-21-inch double-page spreads viewed at 71% of actual size.)

Illustrations make this lyrical tale of the Indian jungle really shine. (authors’ note, websites) (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4100-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Little fingers will enjoy making this book dance, and their bodies may not be far behind.

DANCE

Using his signature supersturdy pull-tabs to animate the scenes, Van Fleet concocts a crowd pleaser about a baby chick learning to dance.

At the dance hall, a newly hatched chick, dubbed “Chickie Baby,” is taught to shake by hippopotamuses, to hop by bunnies, and more. The rhyming text is playfully repetitive and rhythmic, employing some clever wordplay: “Cool, Chickie Baby, now you’re great and gettin’ greater! / Now swing both your arms and do the Gator Mashed Potater!” Here an alligator teaches Chickie Baby a fist-pumping arm motion (not actually the 1960s mashed potato dance), activated by the pull-tab on the right of the page. There are times when the text’s phrases miss the meter and the refrain after Chickie Baby learns a step (“You can dance!”) doesn’t quite flow. The final double-page spread shows Chickie Baby showing off all of his moves, and his friends offer a curtain call in the form of a gatefold pop-up. But the star here, for any toddler or preschooler, will be the extra-large pull-tabs. From the “Busy Beaver Bop” to the “Crazy Piggy Tap,” these tabs demand to be pulled repeatedly—and they can take it. A thick, clear piece of plastic acts as protection for the parts, making this series the sturdiest movable books available.

Little fingers will enjoy making this book dance, and their bodies may not be far behind. (Pop-up board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8707-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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