MY FIRST I SEE YOU

A MIRROR BOOK

From the World of Eric Carle series

Carle’s illustrations are lovely as always, but this repackaging seems unnecessary—more marketing ploy than essential...

Carle’s iconic illustrations are recycled for a new generation of toddlers.

As she did in My First Peek-a-Boo Animals (2017) and My First Busy Book (2015), designer Hannah Frece has chosen images from the Eric Carle backlist to illustrate a simple board book. This time mirrors have been added to images on the right-hand side of each spread. If the book is held just right, the child’s face is reflected within the outline of a cloud, a sun, a tree, a moon, and a star. (Sticky fingers quickly scratch and smudge the mirrors.) A heart-shaped cutout on the cover reveals the first mirror and complements the butterflies on the first-page verso. Rhyming stanzas starting with “I see you in…” are completed by a description of an appropriate action. So a butterfly “flutters so high,” clouds “float across the sky,” a lion “roars,” the sun “shines,” a monkey “swings,” and so on. Some actions, seemingly forced by the need to rhyme, may puzzle young children. Do puppies really play peekaboo? The final double-page spread invites children to repeat each action. After one reading most toddlers will already be fluttering, roaring, and waving along, but the reprise is a reminder that reading with toddlers should be an interactive experience.

Carle’s illustrations are lovely as always, but this repackaging seems unnecessary—more marketing ploy than essential purchase. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2454-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

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

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 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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