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




From the World of Eric Carle series

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. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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