From the Little Crocodile series

A feast for the eyes and ears, this beach and bedtime story will be read and reread often.

The protagonists of What Does Little Crocodile Say? (2021) return for a sound-filled day at the beach.

Big Crocodile and Little Crocodile are on a camping vacation near the beach. As they ride their bike, “the bell goes dring dring.” “The sunscreen goes squirt.” “The fish go blub.” “The hermit crab goes snip-snap.” Adult readers who enjoy reading with expression will have fun creating the sound featured in each scene, and young listeners will soon understand the story’s pattern and chime in with a “splash” for an incoming wave, a “tick tock tick” as Big Crocodile checks the time, and a “toot toot” when the ship in the harbor signals. “And what does Little Crocodile say” when it’s time to leave? “WWWWAAH.” As the day winds down, readers will notice a familiar bedtime routine. The pair shower and struggle with pajamas, dine al fresco with a cricket companion, and finally wish on a shooting star before retiring to their tent and sleeping bags. “And the moon says ‘good night.’ ” Reflecting the text well and adding details like seaside friends, veggie kebobs, and night sky constellations, delicate and whimsical colored pencil and chalk pastel illustrations of the pair stand out against generally neutral backgrounds with minimal details; each enchanting page highlights a different activity in this lovely day. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A feast for the eyes and ears, this beach and bedtime story will be read and reread often. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781774881552

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023


Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014


Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

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 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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