A playful, stealth introduction to a familiar tale.



Surprise, it’s a board book about Noah’s Ark, although readers might not immediately recognize the familiar story.

At first glance this cheerful board book seems to be about animal sounds. Pairs of doves, mice, snakes, geese, zebras, monkeys, and tigers move noisily across the pages, two by two. The animal sounds are repeated twice, along with the words they rhyme with, both rendered in uppercase letters. So the mice “SKITTER, SKITTER” and “TWITTER, TWITTER,” while the geese say, “GIGGLE, GAGGLE,” as their tails “WIGGLE, WAGGLE.” Finally, tying this all together, on the second-to-last page, a brown-skinned family in vaguely Middle Eastern dress appears, along with pairs of elephants, horses, sheep, butterflies, worms, and giraffes. Even on the final spread, as the animals troop into the ark, Noah is not named. A rather generic but positive message concludes this abbreviated Bible story: “They know that in STORMY WEATHER / friends like these should STAY TOGETHER!” That “stormy weather” is the only reference to the Flood, and there’s no mention of God. Caregivers who want to disguise their Bible stories may be pleased, while others will be forced to add further explanation on their own. Toddlers will just be happy to repeat the animal noises.

A playful, stealth introduction to a familiar tale. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-4443-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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This kind and gentle introduction features endearing art and clunky rhymes.


Five Bible stories are told in 10 short pages and illustrated in Magsamen’s characteristic faux appliqué style.

Each double-page spread is rendered on narrow board pages and depicts a new Bible story or parable. The top half of the spread shares a summary of the story told in forced rhyme hand-lettered in white. The bottom half presents a brightly-colored illustration of the story employing cartoon animals and humans with stitch-work borders. A heart in the bottom right or left corner is emblazoned with text that presents the key lesson of the story. “The Parable of the Lost Sheep,” for instance, shows a flock of white sheep with one black sheep in the middle. Written on the heart is the message: “This story reminds us that everyone is important.” Some artistic license is taken. The Creation story shows two children in modern dress, one with a beige complexion and brown pigtails and another with straight black hair and brown skin, enjoying the natural world. (“God made everything for you and me / because He loves us endlessly!”) In the Jonah story, a smiling man with a medium brown skin tone happily topples into the whale’s mouth. Noah’s Ark is populated by parent-child animal dyads rather than male and female pairings. The text repeatedly emphasizes God’s love for readers and employs male pronouns for God.

This kind and gentle introduction features endearing art and clunky rhymes. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-58942-9

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)


From the DR. Books series

There’s plenty of information and instruction crammed into this 5 ½-inch-square board book.

Hutton starts with the opening lines of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” leaving blanks to indicate where readers should fill in key words. Caregivers of toddlers who do not know the song will need to supply the words until their children are familiar enough with it to play the game. On the third page the tone shifts to conversational questioning, providing a model of dialogic reading. The adult reader speaks directly to the child: “Did you just see a bug? What kind of bug was it?…Was it BIG or small? Inside or outside?” The next six pages continue in that vein, providing information in response to the questions. Pages 11 and 12 refer to the rhyme again: “What’s that spider doing? Yes, it’s climbing! Climbing up a water spout! Climbing up a water spout at Grandpa’s house!” This method of repetition and expansion on an idea is excellent practice for beginning readers, but again, toddlers may need time to adjust. The final spread returns to a question likely to engage toddlers, with no practice necessary: “What’s your favorite kind of bug?” Colorful illustrations in shades of blue, green, and brown are only semirealistic; they emphasize a friendly look instead of a creepy one, potentially disappointing for young entomologists fascinated by the real thing.

For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-936669-80-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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