While it’s a less-than-perfect offering, preschoolers who crave gimmicks to manipulate will enjoy giving this one a whirl,...

PRESTO CHANGE-O

A BOOK OF ANIMAL MAGIC

Through the twist of paperboard flaps, objects are transformed.

The action is on the right-hand pages. A man’s top hat reveals a bird hiding underneath; a salad bowl flips upside down to become a turtle. Across the spread, rhyming couplets describe the transformation. The majority of these paper-engineering magic tricks will enchant children, but some of these metamorphoses feel a bit forced; the clock that morphs into an owl requires the twisting of seven separate flaps and does not end up looking much like the nocturnal bird. Manceau’s flat, Lois Ehlert–like graphics in a dark and highly saturated palette are eye-catching, although the almost entirely black rocket/penguin is too dark against a navy blue background. The poetry is also uneven, including some delightful lines mixed in with forced analogies and lines that don’t scan. The final two pages provide before-and-after pictures of each switch as a helpful guide. The back of this board book bears a large choking-hazard warning for children under 3, but since the verse is sophisticated and the manipulations require more dexterity than the average toddler possesses, the package is more appropriate for older kiddos anyway.

While it’s a less-than-perfect offering, preschoolers who crave gimmicks to manipulate will enjoy giving this one a whirl, literally. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-2-8480-1944-4

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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THE LAST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Loewen’s story is a simple snapshot of kindergarten graduation day, and it stays true to form, with Yoshikawa’s artwork resembling photos that might be placed in an album—and the illustrations cheer, a mixed media of saturated color, remarkable depth and joyful expression. The author comfortably captures the hesitations of making the jump from kindergarten to first grade without making a fuss about it, and she makes the prospect something worth the effort. Trepidation aside, this is a reminder of how much fun kindergarten was: your own cubbyhole, the Halloween parade, losing a tooth, “the last time we’ll ever sit criss-cross applesauce together.” But there is also the fledgling’s pleasure at shucking off the past—swabbing the desks, tossing out the stubbiest crayons, taking the pictures off the wall—and surging into the future. Then there is graduation itself: donning the mortarboards, trooping into the auditorium—“Mr. Meyer starts playing a serious song on the piano. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to march”—which will likely have a few adult readers feeling the same. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5807-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and...

GOODNIGHT SONGS

ILLUSTRATED BY TWELVE AWARD-WINNING PICTURE BOOK ARTISTS

It’s a treasure trove: one dozen previously unpublished lyrical songs illustrated by the likes of Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger and Melissa Sweet.

In an introduction, estate editor Amy Gary explains how she found a trunk in Brown’s sister’s barn filled with unpublished manuscripts with Brown’s handwritten notes along with musical scores of her words. They were written in 1952, the last year of her life, when she was traveling in France for a book tour and under contract to create songs for a new children’s record company. Brown’s intent was to capture the spirit of a child’s world in her songs as she had done with her stories. As the opening to “The Secret Song” demonstrates, the simple rhymes have Brown’s trademark charm: “Who saw the petals / Drop from the rose? / ‘I,’ said the spider. / ‘But nobody knows.’ / Who saw the sunset / Flash on a bird? / ‘I,’ said the fish. / ‘But nobody heard.’ ” Each song is presented on one double-page spread, each illustrated by a different artist (uncredited until an ending recap), in a rather staid book design that does not rise to meet the buoyancy of the lyrics.

Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and delight in the background of the discovery. (CD) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0446-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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