Overall, a visually stunning book with a lively storyline whose final pages may leave readers puzzled.

READ REVIEW

BIM BAM BOOM

What do you get when you mix pots, pans, spoons, and some creative friends? Music!

On the first page of this book, an unnamed owl brandishes a pair of spoons and a pot and declares to a friend, “I’m making music!” So begins a tale of young bird children raiding the kitchen for instruments ranging from pot lids to spatulas to colanders until they form a riotous, joyful band. Delicately rendered in watercolor and ink, Stehr’s characters are colorful, juvenile birds whose facial expressions range from delighted to startled to disappointed. While the use of repeated onomatopoeia coupled with the children’s cooperation and creativity gives the narrative a playful momentum, the insertion of an adult character, the owl’s parent, interrupts the flow, ultimately making the ending feel abrupt and disjointed. Additionally, the book is a translation from the French, and in places the English feels stilted, particularly on the final two pages when the characters suddenly adopt a more adult intonation. The onomatopoeic words are playfully scattered on the page like popcorn, but by the end, they become so dense that it is difficult to read out loud.

Overall, a visually stunning book with a lively storyline whose final pages may leave readers puzzled. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77657-136-9

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Overall, a delightful collection—priced so that it’s easy to buy several to give as gifts.

MY WONDERFUL NURSERY RHYME COLLECTION

Looking for an attractive compendium of nursery rhymes, songs, games, and lullabies all in one place? These 192 pages will deliver the goods, and then some.

The one-page introduction emphasizes the importance of nursery rhymes in the lives of young children: they engage the imagination, develop skills, and foster a love of reading and the spoken word. The contents are organized into six categories that bundle together songs, action rhymes, rhymes about animals, games, counting rhymes, and lullabies. The rhymes are set on full pages or double-page spreads and illustrated with an overall retro look in a mix of styles and media that incorporates thumbprints, collage, cut paper, childlike cartoons, dramatic use of display type, and more. “I’m a Little Teapot” features smiling faces on teapot and cup and a palette of pink, red, and teal, while “Old MacDonald” is rendered in a folk-art style that pops with bright yellows, reds, and greens. Instructions for the action rhymes and the games appear in teeny tiny print at the end of each respective chapter. The die-cut board cover is a plus, as it will stand up to repeated readings. Though each rhyme is illustrated differently, unfortunately and strangely, there is no credit or acknowledgement of the artists. While some of the graphic settings are so overdesigned they are difficult to read, there are so many rhymes that it’s easy enough to skip several and still feel sated.

Overall, a delightful collection—priced so that it’s easy to buy several to give as gifts. (Nursery rhymes. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62686-683-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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