Lighthearted and wholly engaging nonsense of the first order.

READ REVIEW

A POTATO ON A BIKE

Call-and-response hilarity and a bit of potty humor make this a read-aloud delight for tots and caregivers alike.

This sweet little board book is a surefire favorite that toddlers and their adults may well be referring to as Poop Riding a Bicycle for years to come. While that is clearly erroneous—the cover clearly states it’s a potato—no one could fault a child for imagining that the pedaling brown blob on the cover is indeed a happy-go-lucky bowel movement on wheels. Ironically enough, there are two images in the book that do in fact feature either poop or a potty, so this will surely be a hit with young toilet trainers. The format is straightforward, set forth on the opening page, which asks: “Have you ever seen a carrot taking a BATH?” On recto, the response is writ large and loud: “No WAY!” Other ridiculous potential sightings are suggested, all introduced “have you ever seen…”: “a flying toothbrush”; “a dancing cookie”; “a singing tomato”; and, of course, “poop wearing glasses” and “a ball sitting on the toilet.” Each time, the response is the same: “No WAY!” The drawings are adorable, peopled with broccoli that can do math, a tomato that sings, a hockey-player pickle, and a skateboarding cupcake, for example. The final question is, “Someone tickling a baby?” (cue light tickles from caregiver); the response is a resounding, “Yes WAY!”

Lighthearted and wholly engaging nonsense of the first order. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2320-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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