There’s lots of detail, but it’s poorly organized.



This oversized lift-the-flap board book is reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s classic titles.

Four lines of rhyming text highlight the function of the equipment seen on each spread. Unfortunately, the rhyme is sometimes forced; “trees” does not rhyme with “debris,” unless “debris” is mispronounced. A concluding couplet—“What is hiding? Take a peek. / Lift the flaps for hide-and-seek!”—repeated on each spread directs readers to eight flaps hidden on each spread. Their small cutouts are almost too small for tiny fingers. Oddly, it is only after opening the flap and revealing the hidden object that readers are asked, “Can you find the _____?” These tiny objects have no relation to either their hiding places or construction. A piece of cake lurks beneath a wheelbarrow; a dump truck hides a pencil. The lack of contextual clues makes this book one to share with somewhat older readers, who may learn some new vocabulary but probably won’t be much challenged. Still, there is much to see and talk about. (Don’t miss the construction worker anxiously waiting to use the port-a-potty. That might have been a flap worth opening.) Animal workers of many species labor on this construction site. One is referred to as “she,” the only pronoun used in the book; two of the three adult caregivers depicted in a final spread wear dresses.

There’s lots of detail, but it’s poorly organized. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68437-650-6

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Highlights Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.


A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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