Matzah lovers rejoice—this one’s for you! (Board book. 1-4)

I LOVE MATZAH

Eating matzah is a delicious Passover tradition for one happy kid.

In this ode to the unleavened foodstuff, a young preschooler noshes on the Passover specialty throughout the day in various yummy iterations, whether it’s crumbled in yogurt, spread with jam, or alongside fish and carrots. Confined to a child’s snug domestic world, all the action takes place within the home, and the simply rendered kitchen, dining-room, and bedroom scenes place all the focus on the curly-haired child’s smiling face as yet another meal with the familiar, favorite food approaches. The book ends humorously with the family giggling at baby brother, who is wearing, not eating his treat, and a wish for readers to have a “Happy Passover!” Joyful illustrations are flat and bright, and there are little touches of Judaica sprinkled throughout that will make Jewish children feel seen: a Star of David mobile, a kippah-topped teddy bear, and a cheery “Got Matzah?” bib. Relayed in sprightly rhyming couplets, the text emphasizes the many tasty treats and the use of special Passover servingware, highlighting the terminal word in each rhyme, a device that will boost emergent literacy. It seems odd that the Seder isn’t mentioned at all, but otherwise this speaks well to the routines and rituals that many children hold so dear.

Matzah lovers rejoice—this one’s for you! (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-5727-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Light, friendly, and not at all preachy—a gentle win for a kinder world.

ABCS OF KINDNESS

Rhyming couplets use the alphabet to simply explain the abstract concept of kindness.

Each letter of the alphabet stands for a word that adds nuance to the notion while line drawings of pink-cheeked stuffed animals—bear, bunny, elephant, mouse, lion, and giraffe—illustrate the behavior. The verses hint at exactly how to act kindly. Some are concrete: “Ii is for inviting everyone to play.” Some suggest attitudes that facilitate kindness. For example, “Bb is for believing things will be okay in the end!” and “Hh is for hope—tomorrow’s another day!” While many might take issue with the simplistic assertion that “Ee is for everyone—we are all the same,” taken as a whole, the book will lead even the youngest toddlers to the message. Organizationally, the book devotes one page each to 11 letters while 14 others share pages. “Zz is sleeping peacefully when your day of kindness is through” sprawls across a final double-page spread, showing all the animals fast asleep. Creating an ABC book is harder than this makes it look. The true test is what is chosen to represent Q, X, Y, and Z. “Quiet times,” “Yes I can,” and the aforementioned “zzz”s ably rise to the challenge. “Xx is for kisses” is a bit of a stretch but understandable. Pastel backgrounds, uncluttered design, and unforced rhymes keep the focus on the concept.

Light, friendly, and not at all preachy—a gentle win for a kinder world. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-12307-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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