Not perfect but maybe just right for a raucous reading or 12.



A beastly cacophony of read-aloud fun from A to Z.

This “rather noisy alphabet” invites a spirited, call-and-response reading from caregivers and young children, who can brush up on their animal sounds and their ABCs at the same time. Rendered in cartoonish but friendly fashion—even the loud, growling tiger wears a big, warm grin—a variety of animals squeak, chirp, and howl their way through this unevenly rhymed but generally appealing board book. The action plays out over a series of two-page scenes in settings that range from barnyard to brook to forest to glacier to African veldt. Great poetry the text is not, but it is serviceable at least most of the time: “We Arf, we Buzz, we Baaah, we Coo. / We Chirp and Cluck and cock-a-doodle Doo!” Each featured letter of the alphabet is capitalized in context, even when it’s not the first letter of the word, as in, “we eXitedly twitter.” Most of the rhymes flow pretty smoothly, although the text does, on occasion, abandon meter to an awkward and confusing degree: “On Ice we bark, in water we Jump, on snow we Kiss… / We Lick, we Laugh, we snap like this.” Most of the featured sounds are utterances, although a few describe an animal’s locomotion (“Vrooom” and “Zoom,” for example).

Not perfect but maybe just right for a raucous reading or 12. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1297-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.


Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.


Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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