Don’t expect kids to pause to identify the mischief-makers or talk about the pictures, at least at first—do expect a request...

IT'S NOT THE PUPPY

The big-eyed pup on the cover of this board book is obviously a scamp and quite possibly to blame for all sorts of mayhem—or maybe not.

Each page shows a different character engaged in some activity, often mischievous, that might be expected from a dog, but the picture and text clearly indicate otherwise. The actual culprits are not named, and not all are animals. They include a bunny, raccoon, cat, and three children. Young children will quickly pick up the refrain, “It’s not the puppy?”—the proper response to the unobtrusively rhyming question posed on each left-hand page. The language is clear and direct: “When he waves his furry tail, / who knocks down the garbage pail?” The lively, cartoon illustrations include plenty of related details—flowers in the garden where the bunny digs, flies buzzing around the garbage can a raccoon has raided. Unfortunately, the pictures of children tend to reinforce gender stereotypes with what appears to be boys having active roles—tracking in mud while chasing a ball and practicing “doggy paddles in the tub.” The only child textually identified by gender is a girl hiding from thunder. The final picture is of another, less-fearful pigtailed child waking to “a big wet kiss surprise… / it IS the puppy!” All children depicted have brown skin and curly black hair.

Don’t expect kids to pause to identify the mischief-makers or talk about the pictures, at least at first—do expect a request to “read it again.” (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68152-409-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Amicus Ink

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for...

HELLO LAMB

This simple board book invites little ones to greet baby farm animals (including frog, bunny, and bee) with their corresponding sounds.

The first double-page spread greets readers with a bright yellow smiling sun and the text “Hello, Sun. / Hello, Day. / Wake up, babies. / Time to play!” Each succeeding spread has a distinct, gently patterned background, with very brief text on the verso (“Hello Puppy! / Woof Woof”). Filling up the recto is a vibrant illustration of the baby animal’s face, wide eyed and smiling, outlined in black. The final spread presents the face of a cute baby with chalky brown-gray skin, bright black eyes, and short black hair: “Goo Goo.” Babies and toddlers will enjoy looking at the baby faces, animals and human, and repeating the sounds. A companion book, Goodnight Bear, has a similar pattern of text and illustrations, though the palette is suitably darker. The moon, surprisingly, has its eyes shut, and succeeding spreads depict an owlet, a baby bat, a baby hedgehog, and other familiar nocturnal baby animals, all wide-awake and smiling. The final spread depicts a cute baby with pale skin, blond hair, and closed eyes.

It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for the target audience. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0430-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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