While the texturing on the pages adds novelty, the book has little substance

COUNTING WITH A LADYBUG

Wander with a little ladybug while counting sets of creatures from one to 10.

“One little ladybug” invites readers to “follow her trail” as she crawls along debossed paths that crisscross the thick pages. For each number, the ladybug introduces a new set of animals, each with distinctive indented shapes on their bodies that provide a tactile experience of one-to-one correspondence. Upon arriving at a cramped last page, the ladybug urges readers to “count everyone again,” a task easier said than done given that all the prior animals are now miniscule and difficult to differentiate. From this blasé plot to the perfunctory, strained rhyming couplets, the entire book feels generic. The ladybug heroine remains frozen in a perpetually grinning pose, and the animal sets feel haphazardly chosen, with eight types of insects arbitrarily interspersed with bunnies and ducklings. The multilayered art, a mishmash of flat backgrounds overlaid with clip-art–like graphics and animal photographs, is not unattractive but lacks soul. At least the tactile elements might appeal. The trails and imprints are easily traced by a child’s finger and may help develop fine motor skills. At points, the debossing adds real richness, as with the enticing spiral shells of the “three hungry snails.” But with the adorable mammals, it’s a real disappointment that there are no fluffy tummies.

While the texturing on the pages adds novelty, the book has little substance . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4654-6390-6

Page Count: 12

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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