Unremarkable but adequate.

COLORS WITH LADYBUG

A cast of friendly bugs and animals leads Little Ladybug to a rainbow’s worth of shiny new boots.

Though it’s certainly not destined to become a cherished staple of children’s literature, this book is a serviceable introduction for toddlers to the concept of colors. Six-legged Little Ladybug sets out one day in her six sparkly, bright-red boots. Along her way, a caterpillar, a chick, a frog, a dragonfly, and a butterfly offer her boots of several different colors, until she has six boots of the six different hues of the rainbow. (Apparently, ROYGBIV has no place here—indigo and violet are collapsed into purple in the absence of a seven-legged beast or insect to focus the tale.) Given that simple plot, much of the book’s interest lies in the use of tactile features to keep young readers engaged. The thick pages are die-cut, allowing little fingers to trace long, debossed trails, and are decorated with embossed features with and without glitter as well as both photorealistic elements and cartoon characters and landscape. There are enough layers and textures that the artwork has, at times, a 3-D effect. The images are almost beautiful, if cluttered and chaotic, and certainly enough to hold a child’s attention. The text is rhymed, but at times the meter suffers from an excess of syllables.

Unremarkable but adequate. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4654-6842-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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