A concept book with a mind-expanding perspective.

READ REVIEW

FROM MORNING TO NIGHT

A BOOK OF HIDDEN SHAPES

This French import uses simple techniques to encourage children to recognize familiar shapes in unusual places.

Each spread consists of a pair of illustrations, the first one a common object, the second one the same elements reoriented to represent a different object. The color palette of warm orange and blue is skillfully used to enhance the differences between the two images. A simple bowl and spoon, captioned “a morning meal” is transformed into “a magic mushroom” by means of inverting the speckled bowl and broadening the blue spoon to make it a blue stalk. An orange fruit becomes a planet when a simple orange sphere changes to blue and the blue stem becomes a tiny orange star. Similarly, an orange segment morphs into a distant planet’s orbiting moon, and a gift becomes a music box—from “a surprise” to “a song.” A simple horizontal line spanning the spread changes from “a path” sprinkled with blue dots recalling snowflakes to “the night sky” with a constellation of orange stars. Some of the pairs offer contrasting emotional perceptions: “disappointment”—an empty chest—becomes “delight”—a letter in an envelope. In the final illustration, lines of text in a book (“a story read”) become the striped sheets of a pair of twin beds (“time for bed”).

A concept book with a mind-expanding perspective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61689-615-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Princeton Architectual Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard.

THE WIND PLAYS TRICKS

When a fierce wind descends on the barnyard, the animals hear some odd noises…and they’re coming from their own mouths.

The sudden wind unsettles all the animals on the farm just when they should be getting ready for sleep. Instead, they anxiously “cheep” and “cluck” and “oink” and “quack” and “moooo.” They shift nervously, pull together, and make all sorts of noises. All except Turtle, who tucks into his shell under an old log and sleeps. In the morning, though, the animals get a surprise. Pig says, “Cluck”; the Little Chicks say, “Neigh”; Horse crows, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.” How will they get their proper sounds back? Turtle has an idea, and he enjoys the process so much that he decides to open his mouth the next time the wind plays tricks at the farm: Perhaps he’ll catch a sound all his own. Chua’s cartoon barnyard is bright, and her animals, expressive, their faces and body language slightly anthropomorphized. The edges of the figures sometimes betray their digital origins. Though the tale is humorous and will give lots of opportunity for practicing animal sounds, the audience is hard to pin down, as the young children sure to enjoy mooing and clucking may not have the patience to sit through the somewhat lengthy text.

For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8735-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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