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PICTURE BOOK: There's an N on Your Nose

For emergent readers, this abecedarian tour of the animal world is an excellent choice.

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A host of animal children play with the letters in this beautifully illustrated picture book.

When a koala wakes, there’s a letter N balancing on the animal’s nose. A penguin looks down at the T on its toes. As the poem progresses, an elephant, a lion cub, a monkey, a giraffe, some quokkas, and more get ready for school as letters dance across the pages, spelling out whatever part of the body the poem describes. Maris’ illustrations position the first letters of words directly on the animal, with the rest of the word dangling from a clothesline that bisects the illustration. Some of the animals are paired with the letter that starts their name (the elephant has E for eyes and ears, the llama has an L for lips), but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Canfield’s silly poem scans well, and the simple vocabulary and short phrases, paired with the emphasis on letters, make this a perfect choice for newly independent readers growing their skills. Maris’ painterly illustrations feature realistic looking animals dressed in clothing and accessories. The elephant wears glasses, and the giraffe has a prosthetic leg. The appealing characters are well textured, with fur that looks soft to the touch.

For emergent readers, this abecedarian tour of the animal world is an excellent choice.

Pub Date: April 1, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-9852756-1-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Well Spoken Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Too many bugs, figuratively.

Lucy, “the youngest member of a family of fireflies,” must overcome an irrational, moon-induced anxiety in order to leave her family tree trunk and glow.

The first six pages pull readers into a lush, beautiful world of nighttime: “When the sun has set, silence falls over the Big Forest, and all of the nighttime animals wake up.” Mixed media provide an enchanting forest background, with stylized flora and fauna eventually illuminated by a large, benign moon, because the night “doesn’t like to catch them by surprise.” Turning the page catches readers by surprise, though: the family of fireflies is decidedly comical and silly-looking. Similarly, the text moves from a lulling, magical cadence to a distinct shift in mood as the bugs ready themselves for their foray into the night: “They wave their bottoms in the air, wiggle their feelers, take a deep, deep breath, and sing, ‘Here we go, it’s time to glow!’ ” It’s an acceptable change, but more unevenness follows. Lucy’s excitement about finally joining the other bugs turns to “sobbing” two nights in a row. Instead of directly linking her behavior to understandable reactions of children to newness, the text undermines itself by making Lucy’s parents’ sweet reassurances impotent and using the grandmother’s scientific explanation of moonlight as an unnecessary metaphor. Further detracting from the story, the text becomes ever denser and more complex over the book’s short span.

Too many bugs, figuratively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-84-16147-00-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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