Older preschoolers maturing from concrete thinking to more abstract thought will find this a hoot.

READ REVIEW

BEFORE & AFTER

Whimsical illustrations challenge young readers to go beyond the obvious.

Bold artwork heavily outlined in black depicts a variety of “before” situations followed by their “after” counterparts on the following pages. Wit and humor pervade the different situations presented. A tatty-looking cat transforms into a sparkling clean cat. A brown-skinned child goes from long, black “before” hair to buzz-cut “after” hair to long, black hair again “way after.” The age-old question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, also makes an appearance here. A double-gatefold spread of a hair-raising roller-coaster ride will have readers laughing. And the consequences of a white-skinned girl staying out in the sun too long? An interesting tan, to say the least. One mildly provocative situation presents two people—one white, one black—who appear both to be pregnant. On the following page the white woman has lost her belly, and the black one is holding a brown infant. On closer inspection though, is the black pregnant-looking person perhaps a man—there are no breasts—and the father of the newborn? This and all the other situations should spark interesting conversations between children and their adult readers.

Older preschoolers maturing from concrete thinking to more abstract thought will find this a hoot. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7408-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard.

THE WIND PLAYS TRICKS

When a fierce wind descends on the barnyard, the animals hear some odd noises…and they’re coming from their own mouths.

The sudden wind unsettles all the animals on the farm just when they should be getting ready for sleep. Instead, they anxiously “cheep” and “cluck” and “oink” and “quack” and “moooo.” They shift nervously, pull together, and make all sorts of noises. All except Turtle, who tucks into his shell under an old log and sleeps. In the morning, though, the animals get a surprise. Pig says, “Cluck”; the Little Chicks say, “Neigh”; Horse crows, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.” How will they get their proper sounds back? Turtle has an idea, and he enjoys the process so much that he decides to open his mouth the next time the wind plays tricks at the farm: Perhaps he’ll catch a sound all his own. Chua’s cartoon barnyard is bright, and her animals, expressive, their faces and body language slightly anthropomorphized. The edges of the figures sometimes betray their digital origins. Though the tale is humorous and will give lots of opportunity for practicing animal sounds, the audience is hard to pin down, as the young children sure to enjoy mooing and clucking may not have the patience to sit through the somewhat lengthy text.

For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8735-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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