A visually enticing book based on a simple and entertaining concept.

PEEK-A-WHO TOO?

Lift the flaps to find out which creatures are making each sound.

Each double-page spread of this triangular book opens into a diamond shape, featuring a question about an animal sound written in large, bold, black letters on solidly colored flaps: “Who TRUUUMPETS? // Who says GROWWWL?” The repetitive structure of the questions makes this text feel like a poem. When readers lift the flaps, some of which hinge up and some of which hinge down, they will delight in finding gorgeously illustrated wild animals ranging from an elephant and a tiger through a monkey, an owl, a parrot, a lion, a frog, a bee, a mosquito, and a crocodile to a bear. Each illustration is colorful and heavily detailed, providing readers with visually rich, patterned paintings that invite close looks. The animals chosen are either already familiar to most children or readily found in many children’s books. Mroziewicz’s use of onomatopoeia makes this an enjoyable and effective read-aloud for younger children. The final spread unfortunately breaks the poetic pattern of the earlier text, transitioning from the question about vocalization to “Who sleeps all winter? ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ.” The change feels like a bit of a jolt from the original rhythm, but overall it is a well-designed book that stands out for its gorgeous illustrations.

A visually enticing book based on a simple and entertaining concept. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-988-8341-81-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

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 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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