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From the Total Nonsense! series , Vol. 1

Who knows? After an outing, kids may wish for birds to nestle in their hair, if not a family member’s beard.

Birds can build nests in the strangest places.

This colorful board book, the first in the Total Nonsense! series, is a testament to that, as it features one of British limerick master Lear’s most renowned ditties, describing how a group of avians takes up residence in a bowler-hatted, pink-cheeked, light-skinned “Old Man’s” absurdly long, sumptuous, black beard. As depicted in this little volume, the assorted birds have plenty of space to do it, as the beard seems to go on forever, effortlessly trailing over hills and fields as the Old Man walks about, mostly oblivious to his pastoral surroundings. Colorful, whimsical, easy-on-the-eyes illustrations, rendered in watercolors and colored pencils, bring to life the limerick, which grown-ups might want to consider helping slightly older listeners to commit to memory; after all, limericks are a fun introduction to poetry and are brief enough to learn easily after repeated reading and listening opportunities. Children are likely going to want repeat visits to this book so they can giggle at the Old Man’s predicament. Additional teaching opportunities include helping little ones identify the various animals portrayed throughout, including the birds that are named, as well as assisting kids with counting the various creatures. Adults can gather information about Lear in the backmatter, an unusual and noteworthy feature in a board book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Who knows? After an outing, kids may wish for birds to nestle in their hair, if not a family member’s beard. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-56846-393-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

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From the Twinkle, Twinkle series

Amiable if slight.

In a text that can be sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” a young dinosaur plays with other prehistoric friends and gets ready for bed.

In this companion piece to Twinkle, Twinkle Unicorn (2019), each double-page spread features a friendly, green theropod with rosy cheeks watching pink pterosaurs fly, using a sauropod’s tail as a sliding board, and watching volcanoes explode in the night sky. As the sun sets, the dinosaur yawns and heads back home to two larger dinosaurs, one pink with eyelashes and one blue without, who appear to be mama and papa dinosaur respectively (did color stereotyping based on gender exist 65 million years ago? And why isn’t the protagonist dinosaur mauve?). Waring has arguably created the most benign and affable dinosaurs possible, with their perpetual smiles, rounded horns and teeth, oversized eyes, and brightly colored hides. Weighing in at only a slight 16 pages, the book runs through two modified verses of the classic, and the first scans quite fluidly. The second stanza feels a little forced to make it fit into the bedtime theme: “Twinkle, twinkle dinosaur, / the day is done. / It’s time to snore.”

Amiable if slight. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3975-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween.

This board book twists the traditional “Teeny Tiny” tale into a less-scary Halloween treat.

This version uses a singsong-y rhythm and cadence to tell the story. “In the teeny tiny barn / Of a teeny tiny house... / Lived a teeny tiny ghost / and a teeny tiny mouse.” Of course the ghost (being teeny tiny) is not very frightening. “But the determined little ghost / Let her mighty courage through / And with a teeny tiny breath / She said a teeny tiny: boo.” Spoiler alert: After just seven page turns the ghost and mouse become friends: “And now the teeny tinies play / In the teeny tiny house. / Just a teeny tiny ghost / And her best friend, mouse.” Pumpkins decorate the cover and final spread and illustrations throughout are in autumnal hues. The fairly high-for-the-format word count—19 to 21 words per page—may be more than toddlers will sit still for, but the “teeny tiny” repetition and rhymes will help. The size (just 6 inches square) makes using the book with a group a challenge, but with a lap-sitting child, it’ll be a pleasure.

A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31848-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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