Cute animals and felt tabs can’t redeem this confusing effort.

READ REVIEW

LET'S PLAY, HAPPY GIRAFFE!

A cheerful teal-blue mouse greets an orange monkey, a red lion, a pink flamingo, a blue elephant, and a yellow giraffe.

The animals are not named. Instead, four-line rhymes describe an emotion sometimes associated with the predominate color on the page. So “orange is excitement”; red corresponds to bravery; “pink is oh-so-playful”; blue is (predictably) sadness; and “yellow is bright happiness.” The rhymes mostly scan, though the toddler audience may not understand the similes embedded in each verse to explain abstract concepts. Only five colors are featured rather than the typical crayon-box eight. In companion title Let’s Play, Funny Flamingo (published simultaneously) each of the nine animals included rates only two lines as the verses explore opposites. Felt tabs embedded in the pages of both books help little people turn the pages. However, the positioning of the tabs in Happy Giraffe places them after the corresponding color. So, for example, when a child grasps the orange tab and turns the page, the page revealed is all about red. The real purpose of both books is to extol the virtue of friendship, a message that’s almost lost amid the lessons about colors and feelings. Still, finding the mouse on each spread can become a game for young children.

Cute animals and felt tabs can’t redeem this confusing effort. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-610-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A happily multisensory exploration.

NOISY FARM

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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