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From the Touch and Explore series

Serviceable for as long as it lasts.

Shopping for a pet? This busy board book introduces to toddlers the common characteristics of nine household pets.

A cat and a dog each occupy a double-page spread, with the verso page divided into four squares of illustrated information about the pet’s babies, diet, and toileting needs. A fourth square that explains the animals’ space needs includes a flap with further information hidden behind it. A bird also warrants a double-page spread, with the verso providing generic information and a canary used as a specific example on the recto page. A guinea pig, hamster, fish, turtle, mouse, and rabbit are each described on just one page with factual information in a relatively large font. Each animal’s depiction includes a tactile element with varying degrees of success. For example, the shiny scales of the fish are described, but, upending expectations, the fish pictured is not shiny, and the canary’s feathers look and feel more like fur. Safari (written by Stéphanie Babin, illustrated by Deneux, and published simultaneously) follows the same format to highlight animals of an African savanna: lion, baboon, elephant, zebra, crocodile, and giraffe. Both volumes end with a summary page that mentions additional, related animals. The tactile patches will be the primary draw for young children. Unfortunately, they probably won’t survive the rough touch of toddler fingers, and the bindings are far from sturdy.

Serviceable for as long as it lasts. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-2-7459-8179-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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

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. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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