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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This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations.

THIS LITTLE BUNNY

Little bunnies prepare for the definitive bunny holiday.

Bunnies prepare for Easter in this board book. In verse set to the cadence of “This Little Piggy,” bunnies go to market, bake a cake, paint eggs, weave a basket, and do all sorts of other things to get ready for Easter. Rescek’s illustrations take full advantage of spring’s color palette, employing purples, pinks, oranges, and blues and incorporating striped and spotted ovals evoking Easter eggs. Little readers learning about the Easter Bunny for the first time will be delighted to get a peek at the process bunnies may go through to prepare for Easter and how it mirrors activities they perform with their parents.

This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0105-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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