Toddlers are better served by a chorus of the original, accompanied by the finger motions


From the Itsy Bitsy series

Yet another remake of the classic fingerplay.

Burton and Rescek need to find a new song to parody or, better yet, come up with something original. As in earlier remakes—The Itsy Bitsy Pilgrim, The Istsy Bitsy Bunny, The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer (all 2016), and The Itsy Bitsy Snowman (2015)—the words are meant to be sung to the tune of the favorite nursery rhyme. In this outing, the rhymes work, but the meter is clunky. Rescek’s characters are cheery enough as they celebrate the transition from winter to spring. The question is why ducklings should replace spiders. “Down came the rain and chased the snow away” is simply not as satisfying as “washed the spider out.” The elements of danger, pluck, and mastery inherent in the original song are missing, as are the actions. A scene of anthropomorphic animals of different species sharing a den confuses rather than enlightens. There is no clear change from winter to spring; the color palette throughout is bright and springlike, and the duckling is about as realistic as an Easter Peep. Sturdy board pages may stand up to lots of handling, but young children are unlikely to ask for it more than once.

Toddlers are better served by a chorus of the original, accompanied by the finger motions . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8655-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements.


From the Pout-Pout Fish Mini Adventure series

The Pout-Pout Fish brand expands.

Halloween is here, and Mr. Pout-Pout Fish is giving out treats from his submarine home. Those familiar with the blue striped fish will find the usual uncluttered illustrations and rhyming scheme (“Who’s at the helm / of the spooky submarine? // It’s you, Mr. Fish! / Have a happy Halloween!”). New readers may be drawn in by the colorful costumes the various fish wear as they trick-or-treat along the ocean floor. Keen-eyed readers with some pumpkin-carving experience may wonder how a jack-o’-lantern can be lit under water. This board book is a fairly standard look at Halloween, putting a popular character in common holiday trappings and adding nothing else. Fans of the holiday will have to look elsewhere for a more exciting take on Halloween’s thrills.

Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30191-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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From the Llama Llama series

In this board book designed for the littlest llama lovers, adorable-as-ever Llama Llama (Llama Llama Red Pajama, 2005, etc.) gets ready for some Halloween fun.

Dewdney’s characteristic spare, apt rhymes convey a lot of action in effortlessly readable fashion. A charming and simple introduction to Halloween and its associated activities, this title finds little Llama Llama choosing and carving a pumpkin, pouring candy into bowls, picking out a costume and, finally, trick-or-treating. The costume Llama Llama decides to don—pointy teeth and a black mask and cape—is enough to frighten and fool his friends but not readers, who will immediately recognize and smile at the silly little mini-Dracula. With Dewdney’s characters as expressive as ever, young readers will be drawn right into the holiday fun, eagerly anticipating which costume Llama Llama will choose and excited to see him scare his friends and score some candy at trick-or-treat. In the equally appealing companion title, Llama Llama Jingle Bells,the little fellow gets ready for Christmas, baking and decorating some cookies in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. This simple holiday title will win Llama Llama new fans, and old friends will want to add it and its companion to their collections. (Board book. 1-2)


Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0451469786

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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