Too much trick and not enough treat.

READ REVIEW

BOO AT THE ZOO

A LIFT-THE-FLAP BOOK

Zoo animals dress up for Halloween trick-or-treat in this lift-the-flap board book.

Rhyming text and interactive features should guarantee a hit with toddlers. Unfortunately, the rhythm is off. Poor scansion makes even acceptable rhymes like “toe” and “glow” or “tune” and “moon” awkward. “Guess Boo?” inserted after each verse is confusing for young children just learning to play “Guess who?” games. The large flaps in each double-page spread are almost the same size as the page they hide; that they can be lifted is only implied by the decorative die-cut edges, and their thinness makes them quite difficult for small fingers to grasp. Similarly, the notion of costumed animals is a promising premise, but the wordplay introduced by Burton assumes too much background knowledge for the board-book audience. For example giraffes are dressed as “Giraffenstein,” penguins as “Penguincesses,” and monkeys as “Apirate.” These made-up words are difficult to pronounce and assume young children will recognize Frankenstein, princess, and pirate costumes when they turn the flaps. The fact that singular nouns are used to describe some of these groups of costumed animals is also confusing. The “Under-wearwolves” are particularly obscure. (And what toddler knows underwear as “tighty-whities”?)

Too much trick and not enough treat. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2033-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 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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A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride.

IT'S RAMADAN, CURIOUS GEORGE

For one special month, George accompanies a young friend through fasts, feasts, and good works at the mosque.

Such headers as “Waiting for Sunset” and “Sharing with Others,” along with glimpses of stars and crescents in the background and a “Ramadan Mubarak” banner, offer oblique references to some basic themes and symbols, but Ramadan’s purpose, many of its practices, and even the word “Muslim” go unmentioned in this tabbed board book. Khan’s rhyme lumbers along (“George can’t wait for tomorrow, / When the month of Ramadan will start. / It’s a special time of year for his friends, / And George is going to take part!”). Meanwhile, Young plugs George and the Man in the Yellow Hat into scenes with Kareem, his father, and his hijab-wearing mother. (Kareem and his dad appear to be black; his mother is lighter-skinned.) They make cookies, gather with friends at sunset to break their daily fast and pray (offstage), then enjoy “Kabobs, curry, veggies, and rice” with chocolate-dipped bananas for dessert. At the mosque, George helps Kareem make food baskets and tries to pass out the racked shoes until an imam gently stops him. Finally, beneath a thin crescent moon at month’s end, George gets a new vest (and the Man a yellow fez) for the celebration of Eid.

A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-65226-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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