JAMES BALOG'S ANIMALS A TO Z

James Balog's Animals A To Z ($7.95; June 1996; 26 pp.; 0-8118- 1339-8): In the striking, tack-sharp photographs of this animal ABC, creatures look out from the pages as if wishing to commune with readers. The format—lots of white space—gives the unusual selection of animals (well, yes, Z is for zebra, and X is for ox) a tangible presence: Didn't the mandrill's eyes just move? Might not that frog be sticky to the touch? Though a few of the critters look cut-and-pasted, this board-book bestiary is fairly breathtaking. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8118-1339-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1996

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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TIME TO PEE!

That most basic of functions, subject of countless earnest tomes, at last receives a treatment whose instructional value is equaled by its entertainment value. “If you ever get that funny feeling . . . ” reads a series of signs borne by a host of cheerful, cartoony mice as they fly, drive, march, and (in at least one instance) get shot from a cannon past a bevy of dubious-looking multicultural children: “don’t PANIC! Don’t FRET!” The simple text is direct, not without humor (“And please don’t ignore it!”), and wonderfully child-wise, providing the critical reassurance that “everything will still be right where it was.” The multitudinous mice in their kite-flying, instrument-playing, sky-diving, helicopter-driving variety constitute a visual feast that enlivens the simple text and will keep the inevitable re-readings from becoming snooze-inducing. The uncluttered layout allows the children to take center stage while the legions of mice, with their text-bearing signs, happily perform their supporting roles. Those kids move from doubt to magnificent relief to pride in a happily encouraging progression, making this offering number one in the potty department. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7868-1868-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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