This ballgame is a board-book miss.

READ REVIEW

THE BALL GAME

From the Let's Play Games! series

The novelty-book answer to the basketball net on the wastepaper basket.

On the paperboard overwrap that holds this accordion-fold board book together, players are invited to “screw a piece of paper into a ball” and flick it, throw it or shoot it with a rubber band through holes in the book. One side of the book contains various cartoon scenes of sporting events involving balls: basketball, soccer, rugby, tennis and golf. The colorful verso lists numeric point values. A few of the targets will be manageable for young players, but the others (the smallest hole is less than one-half inch in diameter) will prove frustratingly impossible. The companion title, The Game of Mirrors, is also wordless and uses shiny silver pages, a variety of geometric forms and several die-cut holes punched through the center to create a mesmerizing visual experience. Both titles contain the choking-hazard label that has beset many of the other books in the series. While a detachable piece from The Ball Game is likely to blame for this warning, it is quite baffling what the small parts are on The Game of Mirrors, as there are none to be found. While The Ball Game really is most appropriate for children above 3 years since significant coordination is needed, it is too bad Tullet’s American publishers could not find a way to make The Game of Mirrors safe for core board-book readers; babies would have been the perfect audience for this playful exploration.

This ballgame is a board-book miss. (Board book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7148-6688-8

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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