The tangle of yarn on each page makes this delightful volume feel more dynamic than many typical concept books, with the...

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Follow the Yarn

A BOOK OF COLORS

A spirited black kitten plays with yarn to teach children colors in this work from author and illustrator Sper (What on Earth Can We Do?, 2016, etc.).

The radiant cover gives a preview of what this concept book contains: a black kitten, surrounded by 10 different colors of yarn, appears on a spare white background. When readers open the first two-page spread, the feline—almost entirely black, but with gray highlights to depict features such as ears and paws—tackles a red ball of yarn. The word “red” is the only text. On the second two-page spread, the red ball has left a yarn trail, and the kitten cuddles a yellow ball, his blue eyes small enough that they don’t distract from the “yellow” of the object. On each two-page spread, trails of the previous yarn cover part of the white background, joined by a new ball with its own strands; the only text is the new color word. By the time the animal reaches the sixth ball, the page begins to get crowded with colors, and the yarn starts to entangle the kitten as well as filling the page. But the intrepid feline never gets tied up, and the text color and the ball of yarn are always clear. On the final two-page spread, the background makes a dramatic shift; suddenly all the trails and the kitten, surrounded by a blue glow to reveal his position, are bright against a black background, as the animal bats a white ball of yarn. Beginning readers should have an easy time identifying color words because of the text’s isolation and the clear visual cues. Toddlers should be able to point to each color and its word, printed in the same hue it represents, to help learn the palette the book offers. Pet lovers and youngsters will likely be charmed by this wonderful work that remains simple to follow.

The tangle of yarn on each page makes this delightful volume feel more dynamic than many typical concept books, with the frisky feline an energetic guide.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9754902-8-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Jump Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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