Both the song and Bible story are better in their original versions.

THE ITSY BITSY ANGEL

The Nativity story is retold to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Burton and Rešček’s latest attempt to exploit the popularity of the familiar nursery song shares many of the same problems found in their previous efforts (The Itsy Bitsy School Bus, 2018, etc.). The text tries to match the rhyme and meter of the traditional verse, but there are just too many syllables. “Out came a Star / to chase the clouds away” works, but good luck singing the next line: “and three wise men looked up / and let the Star guide their way.” Similarly, rhyming “world” and “girl” requires a leap of faith. For no apparent reason, some words are set in a different-colored type from those around them. Rešček’s illustrations of the desert Holy Land are greeting-card sweet, and most of the characters—the titular angel, shepherds, Magi, and baby Jesus—are pale, though there are a few secondary angels of color. The story begins with the angel announcing the tidings of Jesus’ birth, leaving out the complexity of the original. Sturdy board pages may stand up to rough handling, but with limited seasonal appeal it’s likely to languish more often than not. This simplified and sanitized retelling may, however, attract caregivers looking for religious stories to share with toddlers.

Both the song and Bible story are better in their original versions. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4340-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Predictable text, a slight storyline, and cutouts that toddlers will use to turn the pages make this an acceptable...

BOO!

From the My Little World series

Six bug-eyed, smiling iconic Halloween characters are startled by mysterious shouts of “Boo!” but little ones won't be fazed.

Beginning with “Night owl, night owl, was that you? / Were you the one who shouted BOO?” the same question is repeated on each page, substituting the name of the Halloween symbol pictured. Young readers will soon know the response: “It wasn't me!” The eyes of the owl, cat, pumpkin, witch, spider, and wizard are nesting, die-cut holes of decreasing size. The character from the previous page is included on each double-page spread, providing visual continuity. The next-to-last spread shows all six characters worriedly asking, “Who's hiding out there in the night?” The final page turn reveals the obvious answer: “It's a ghost!” The placement of the word “Boo” changes on each page, which may confuse toddlers who learn to anticipate text through its consistent appearance. Despite the bright, almost garish illustrations in purple, black, orange, green, blue, and pink, the perennially smiling characters are static and flat; both witch and wizard are Caucasian.

Predictable text, a slight storyline, and cutouts that toddlers will use to turn the pages make this an acceptable introduction to the fun of Halloween. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-68010-501-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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