Preschoolers may not know all of the creatures (aardvark, kiwi, ibex), but they will have fun pointing out what’s happening...

THE ABC ANIMAL ORCHESTRA

The title says it all—kind of.

Twenty-six different animal characters each play an instrument; they are introduced one by one, with the final double-page spread bringing the whole orchestra together. A banner runs across the bottoms of the pages with three lines that name each creature and cite the action of the scene in both upper and lower cases. “N is for NEWTS making lots of NOISE! It’s also for nightingale and nest.” In the accompanying illustration, five gaily dressed newts sing, bang pots and blow a horn, while in the background, a top-hatted nightingale sings from its nest. Not all letters are able to achieve such thematic unity. For the tricky letters, Q is for quiet, quail, quilt and queen, and “X is for XANTHUS hummingbird playing the XYLOPHONE. It’s also for x-ray.” In these and other cases, the additional words often have nothing to do with either animals or music, but they do help with letter-recognition practice. The animals are outfitted in clothing, hats and glasses in a bright and offbeat style that mixes collage and paint. The endpapers, on which the animals form the alphabet letters, are perhaps the cleverest part of the book.

Preschoolers may not know all of the creatures (aardvark, kiwi, ibex), but they will have fun pointing out what’s happening and connecting letters with them. Isn’t that what alphabet books are supposed to do? (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9072-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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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