SEE THE CIRCUS

Rhymes and colored pictures, that fold open to reveal an extension of the original scene, give the young a provocative meeting with big top characters. Each verse is something to guess at- what will Kiki the clown do, who will walk the tight-rope and so forth. The author's pictures are in the agreeably loose style of the illustrations for the Curious George books. Cloth spine with stapled pages. Not too firm.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1956

ISBN: 0395906954

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1956

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Rushed pacing and ineffective character development keep the story from living up to its potential.

LOST IN THE COCKPIT COUNTRY

A young boy gets lost and then kidnapped on a school trip to Jamaica’s Cockpit Country.

High schooler Kemar McBayne is looking forward to the school’s Ecology Club trip, along with his older brother, Oshane, and his younger brother, Tyrik, who’s only 10. His contentious relationship with his little brother causes trouble when an act of mischief on Tyrik’s part almost immediately leads to Kemar’s separation from the group. Unable to make his way back to them, he is later found and befriended by a stranger who turns out to have ulterior motives and holds Kemar hostage in the notoriously difficult-to-navigate Cockpit Country. Kemar decides to try to figure out a way to escape his captor and return to his family. At the same time, Oshane is determined to find his brother despite the others’ support, eventually enlisting the help of one of the region’s Maroon communities in order to track him down. Elm includes interesting, detailed aspects of Jamaican geography and culture that help readers visualize the characters’ experiences. However, this aspect of the novel is not enough to make up for jumpy pacing and storytelling that fails to build suspense or create attachment to the characters or plot. Characters are mostly Black, with some secondary characters mentioned as having pale skin and foreign accents.

Rushed pacing and ineffective character development keep the story from living up to its potential. (Adventure. 8-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-976-8267-31-3

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Blouse & Skirt Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Endearingly playful.

BABY ANIMALS

From the My First Interactive Board Book series

Little fingers can make young critters grow and play by sliding relatively-sturdy tabs and panels.

On the cover, a lion cub grows into an adult male lion with a full mane and a tuft at the end of his tail with a right swipe of a tab. Most of the internal pages follow a similar pattern. First, readers are introduced to each baby animal’s home or environment on the verso; the interactive feature appears on the recto, often with a finger-sized hole in the panel for ease of sliding, with a sentence of descriptive text floating above it. The cleverest gimmick is a nested double panel that pulls out from the right-hand page so a young snake can grow longer. The final double-page spread, which reviews what has come before and introduces brand-new concepts, includes four flaps and four panels with simple queries and captions. A companion title, On the Farm, illustrated by Mélanie Combes, is formatted identically and introduces youngsters to chickens, pigs, and more. Readers can shear the wool off a sheep with a single swipe. Some of the features are a bit more subtle, as the panel to make a cow chew her cud only makes the grass in her mouth (which is not a cud) wiggle a tiny bit. The art of both offerings is similar even though it is by two different creators, employing soft tones and rounded lines to create big-eyed, friendly creatures.

Endearingly playful. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-7338-5915-5

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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