If the point is to help children understand and accept their feelings, this effort is a failure. If the point is to sell...

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KISS, KISS, POUT-POUT FISH

From the Pout-Pout Fish series

The Pout-Pout Fish brand expands.

None of the fish in this sea look like anything living outside the cartoon-cute world of Pout-Pout Fish, but that's just the beginning of the problems with this board-book addition to the franchise. The Pout-Pout Fish on the cover and every page of this offering doesn't look pouty at all. Slightly bemused, a bit surprised, maybe—but definitely not pouty. In fact, all of the cartoony creatures swimming in this fantasy sea share the same bug-eyed, slightly kissy-face expression. The rhyming message is that there are many ways to share it—a wave, a smile, holding hands (or fins), making silly faces, a hug, or a kiss—but there’s only one thing to call it: love. What is disturbing is that Mr. Fish seems to have only one choice—to accept love however it is offered. Giving children (or little fish) permission to trust their own feelings might be a more appropriate message.

If the point is to help children understand and accept their feelings, this effort is a failure. If the point is to sell Pout-Pout product, it might succeed. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30190-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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