Mwah! (Picture book. 2-4)

READ REVIEW

HOW MANY KISSES?

A kissfest of a counting book.

Bold cover art depicts two children in silhouette, looking at each other. The first holds a bouquet in front of both their faces, and they appear to be kissing behind it. Open the book, and the frontmatter text directs readers to blow kisses at the characters on interior pages (which makes one wonder why the cover art doesn’t have a character blowing a kiss, too). The first spread shows a cat sleeping on the recto, while on the facing verso there appears a large, yellow numeral 1 leading off the text: “1 kiss for the cat sleeping on the sofa.” Beneath this direction is a yellow dot to reinforce the numeral 1. The next spread follows this design, but with the numeral 2 and two blue dots to count the kisses the reader should blow at the depicted dog. Ensuing pages count up to 10 kisses, with each spread depicting various animals and people (all of whom appear white). Then there’s a leap from 10 to 17 kisses for an owl, 64 for the sun, 823 for the wind, and “millions…for all the children playing around the world!” (Here a few children of color appear in small scale.) This playful, dramatic increase should provoke lots of frantic kiss-blowing on the parts of young readers—and laughter, too.

Mwah! (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65145-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary.

MY FIRST BUSY BOOK

From the World of Eric Carle series

The latest addition to the World of Eric Carle is proof that the Wilder Award–winning picture-book creator knows what appeals to children.

This board book is both developmentally appropriate and aesthetically pleasing—perfect for toddlers. In a sturdy, oversize (10 1/2 inches square) format, Carle recycles iconic images from his vast canon to introduce shapes, colors, numbers, animals, and sounds. The flower on the cover is almost (but not quite) identical to the flower that grows from The Tiny Seed (1970). Seeing the animals throughout the pages is like recognizing old friends. But Carle and the book’s designer, Hannah Frece, put these familiar images to fresh uses to create a logical, accessible, and harmonious concept book. Although billed as a “busy book,” it is not hyperactive, using just five or six images per spread. From the mirror that lights up the sun on the cover to the touch-and-feel inserts on the page about animals to the single flap that hides a mouse from a cat, the tactile elements have been chosen with intention instead of just as gimmicks. On other pages, foils and textures are subtle, with many barely raised images that invite tracing.

A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5791-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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