If little fingers are too interactive, they will make this offering permanently inactive.

SURPRISE!

SLIDE AND PLAY SHAPES

As an orange cat explores a fanciful landscape, little ones are invited to turn, twist, or slide large buttons in this French import.

A square, circle, star, and triangle are visible through die-cut holes in the cover and interior pages corresponding to these brightly colored shapes. Within, a small orange cat (who often gets lost on the pages due to his diminutive size) meanders through the somewhat psychedelic landscape by zooming in an airplane, balancing on a leaf, and floating on a cloud. On every other double-page spread, youngsters are invited to manipulate one of the large, paper knobs, which seem to be made out of cut, stacked, and glued board pages. When the green square is twisted to the left, a panel hidden between the board pages flips up out of the top of the book, causing the birds that are painted on it to appear to fly out of the tree as if the cat has startled them. The star-shaped knob makes butterflies shoot up and to the right on another panel. Manipulating the triangle and the circle cause a palm tree to grow and the sun and a rainbow to appear, respectively. Unfortunately, the manipulatives may not stand up to abuse, particularly as children who try to replicate the “twist” that triggers the first special effect may entirely detach the star and triangle with the same action. Text offering direction and light observations appears on the verso, but Fouquier’s whimsical art in bubble-gum colors is what primarily draws the eye. While the large buttons are big enough not to cause choking-hazard concerns, their flimsy construction makes them unlikely to survive many readings by active toddlers.

If little fingers are too interactive, they will make this offering permanently inactive. (Novelty/board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-2-40802-469-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A well-meant miss.

THE LITTLE RECYCLER

A little boy takes an active role in recycling and reusing in this lift-the-flap tale.

The boy, along with a couple of young friends, demonstrates cleaning and sorting recyclables, donating unwanted clothes and toys, and reusing other materials for various projects. While this is a noble effort, the rhyming text, which appears on the outside of and under each flap, does not scan well: “Clink, clink, clink. Into each bin– / BOTTLES, / PAPER, / PLASTIC, / TIN.” Some of the concepts above and below each flap have a clear relationship to one another: A large cardboard box is empty above the flap and reused as a toy boat below the flap. Other concepts do not connect quite as well: The plastic (above the flap) and “tin” cans (under the flap) look to be going into the same bin, but the next page shows them carefully sorted into their own separate bins. The cover may also confuse little ones, and a few grown-ups too, since it mostly shows materials to be reused (toys and clothes to be donated), not recycled. The flat, friendly and soft-hued cartoons look to be a mix of digital art over collaged backgrounds of reused materials. Other titles in the Teenie Greenies series, which are printed on recycled paper with soy ink, tackle gardening, composting and transportation alternatives with greater clarity.

A well-meant miss. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86172-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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A charming, not-so-simple board book that will surely engage.

FLY!

From the TouchThinkLearn series

A bird embarks on a long journey.

In the first double-page spread, a yellow bird arrives at the foot of a tall tree after what the text calls “a very long journey,” but her story is far from over. As she makes a home in her tree and then a family with a red bird who joins her, this board book explores the circle of life. The book’s illustrations are large and rounded, mostly circles or half-circles, enhancing that “circle of life” theme. The book holds removable play pieces that can be slotted into the compositions in different ways. For example, a round yellow piece symbolizing the sun can be taken, flipped, and inserted into a recess in the picture opposite as the bushy round crown of a tree. Each double-page spread offers at least one removable piece to be fitted into the opposite page; they do not require carrying over into subsequent spreads. The interactive play is a perfect spice to a simple story that will delight little ones. The pieces aren’t dangerously tiny, but some will inevitably make their ways under the couch or become stuck between cushions. Luckily the compositions still work well enough without them.

A charming, not-so-simple board book that will surely engage. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5922-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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