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

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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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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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