Like much of what’s in real delivery boxes, this is ephemeral—fun for a minute but not essential.

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

Large flaps and tactile elements enliven this guessing-game board book.

The organizing premise of this novelty book is the ubiquitous pile of delivery boxes found almost daily on many a porch. Those in this book have tactile elements poking out to hint at what’s inside. Rhyming text on the left poses a question about each box’s contents. Sturdy flaps on the opposite page reveal the rhyming answer and a fantasy character that’s probably recognizable to even young children. Labels on the depicted box and in the illustrations also contain clues. Three flaps are almost as large as the page; two are split, requiring two hands to open. The rhymes are clever, but the wordplay and sophisticated language seem designed to engage adult readers rather than delight toddlers. For example, a label on one box reads, “HANDLE WITH SCARE.” Older preschoolers will easily guess the answers and be ready to move on quickly. Disappointingly, the fuzzy pink blob poking through the cutout on the front cover has no obvious relation to the contents of any of the five boxes in the slight story. Librarians and booksellers will appreciate what’s under the final flap: “A BOOK! Their stories bring us smiles and fun— / the magic of reading for everyone!”

Like much of what’s in real delivery boxes, this is ephemeral—fun for a minute but not essential. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-683-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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An inventive and extensive counting experience that will delight youngsters.

COUNTABLOCK

From the Block Books series

Shaped pages help youngsters count to 10 and beyond.

Two stylish double-page spreads are devoted to each number one through 10 and then, counting by 10s, to 100. In the first spread, the right-hand side is a page-high, die-cut numeral that spills off the page; to its left, a squirrel holds an acorn. With the turn of the page, there’s a transformation. “One acorn becomes… / one oak tree!” A portion of the object, animal or person being altered is visible through the die-cut openings; a sand castle peeks through the “0” of the number 10, for instance. Once the page is turned, the background from the previous left-hand page merges with the full double-page spread. As in the earlier Alphablock (2013), the helpfulness of these visual hints is uneven. After 10, 20 caterpillars become 20 butterflies, 30 baskets of cucumbers become 30 jars of pickles, and 40 eggs become 39 chicks and one dinosaur. The whole shebang ends with 100 puzzle pieces fitting together into “one big puzzle!” in the book’s only double gatefold. Peskimo’s muted color palette and droll cartoon style works well with the playful concept. The same worries about the binding that arose with Alphablock are an issue here, but the conceit will likely appeal to older children anyway.

An inventive and extensive counting experience that will delight youngsters. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1374-3

Page Count: 94

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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