An engaging introduction to the eating habits of a variety of animals that will keep young readers coming back for as long...

Think all animals will eat just anything? Think again. Some animals will only eat some very specific foods. Welcome to the world of picky eaters!

Appealing mixed-media illustrations depict 10 different stylized, but easily recognizable, creatures: koalas, caterpillars, pandas, honeybees, whales, African egg-eating snakes, Arctic foxes, leatherback turtles, turkeys, and anteaters. Young children and their adult readers will have fun trying to guess what will satisfy these picky eaters before lifting the flap that reveals the answer. The flaps are playfully camouflaged as part of the scene: for instance a milkweed leaf for the caterpillar, a flipper for the leatherback turtle. Unfortunately, the honeybees do not bring food to a beehive but to what looks something like a wasps’ nest. The text, written in rhyming couplets—“African egg-eating snakes / swallow eggs as if they’re cakes”—adds to the read-aloud fun. Children learn about these animals and their eating habits within a vocabulary-rich context that does not speak down to them. The last spread challenges children not to stick to one food but to instead put something new on their plates. While some children might wonder why animals are allowed to be picky but not them, some parents will cheer at the suggestion.

An engaging introduction to the eating habits of a variety of animals that will keep young readers coming back for as long as the flaps last. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1901-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017



Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016


Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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