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From the Peekaboo Pop-Up Fun series

Not enough pop for the price.

Six pop-up spreads display the over-the-top antics of a bunch of anthropomorphic barnyard animals.

A shades-wearing rooster in a roadster poses for the paparazzi. Three pigs relax with Pampered Pigs Weekly in a hot tub. In a scene reminiscent of the folk-song hero Bill Grogan, a flock of goats “munch” clothes right off a clothesline. A fashionista lamb models purple fleece with matching accessories. Two horses tango on ice skates, and singing cows suggest that readers “warble or hum, / bang a cymbal or drum” while sheep and ducks dance along. These improbable talents are announced in four-line rhyming stanzas. The silliness may amuse adults who are bored with the usual farm-animal fare, but the jokes will go right over the heads of toddlers. A simultaneously publishing second title in the Peekaboo Pop-Up Fun series is more focused. In Snuggle Tight, Kiss Good Night, by Danielle McLean and illustrated by Denise Hughes, seven (single) animal parents prepare their babies for bed with gentle, age-appropriate rhyming couplets. The animal pairs really do pop against muted nighttime nature scenes. The most intriguing features of both books are the pop-out portions that highlight the main character of each verse. However, the pop-outs go flat if the book is opened wide, and little fingers may quickly grab and tear the pop-out portions.

Not enough pop for the price. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-602-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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