Witty, smart, and funny—kids will love it! (Board book. 3-5)

READ REVIEW

WHY THE FACE?

Cartoon faces with a variety of expressions invite readers to guess what might be causing “the face.”

One on each recto, nine different faces (with different hairdos and colors and different skin tones ranging from light brown to dark brown) sport distinctive and very quirky looks. Each face is accompanied by the recurring page-filling, boldfaced question “WHY THE FACE? on the opposite page. The answer to each can be found by unfolding the gatefold pages beneath the faces in this sturdily constructed board book. The gift here is the fold-out page, as it allows children time to use their imaginations and encourages conversations between children and adult readers before unfolding the page and revealing the answer. The answers are as distinctive and quirky as the faces. The answer to a scrunched-up face is revealed to be a collection of smelly objects—from an elephant’s backside with a swarm of flies around it to a shoe—accompanied by “WHOA! THAT STINKS.” And the face with spirals for eyes? A collection of electronic screens along with a plea for “FIVE MORE MINUTES!” Allowing for differences in attitudes, two different faces—one happy, one disgusted—reveal the same answer: bugs. The accompanying text succinctly expresses the contradictory feelings: “OOH COOL! / EWW GROSS!” (In an extra-delightful touch, the feminine face is delighted by the bugs, while the masculine one is repelled by them.)

Witty, smart, and funny—kids will love it! (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7719-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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