LITTLE BEE

It's easier to be the hunter than the hunted in this board book that represents the food chain.

Each character appears safe at first glance, but a neutral or smug facial expression turns to trepidation when a predator (or pesky nuisance) hurries it off the page. A frog chases the bee; a snake pursues the frog; a mongoose hunts the snake, and so on: “Scary mongoose, / scary mongoose… / why do you flee? // Because there's a fierce lion chasing me!” There's no relief from the hunt in this circular tale; even the king of the jungle expresses fear when a hunter in safari gear approaches with a net, and guess who's after the hunter? Exaggerated body language and comical facial expressions blunt any potential fright. Italicized type emphasizes rhythmic phrases. The mixed-media scenes feature squiggly black lines that convey energy and movement. The brevity of the text suits the compact offering. Unfortunately, this selection suffers from an unnecessary tactile gimmick. Due to sparkling fabric wings on the cover, a choking-hazard label warns the selection unsuitable for children younger than 3; it's simply a puzzling decision, as the toddler audience would benefit the most from these sturdy pages. This unnecessary, flimsy accessory diminishes the book’s effectiveness. (Board book. 2-4)

 

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-12707-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: LB Kids/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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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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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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