All sparkle and no substance. (Board book. 1-3)

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, FAIRY FRIEND

Cute fairies flit about rainbows and forest friends in a rewritten song set to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Opening on a minute fairy with bubble-gum–pink hair, light-brown skin, and a star-tipped wand, the book follows her through a magical day seemingly designed to elicit squeals of delight. Readers watch as she flies with butterflies, romps in the rain with fellow fairies, and lunches with friendly mice and chipmunks before finally returning home to be safely tucked into bed. The fairies have round, oversized heads and a variety of light and dark skin tones, and at least one fairy eschews pink and purple. There’s no attempt at subtlety in the illustrations: Pages burst with colors straight out of a candy store; the wide-eyed fairies frolic about giant flowers and grinning insects; and a glossy cover is plastered with iridescent sparkles. It’s not high art, but it’s easy enough on the eye. Overwrought singable text matches the art’s unabashedly enthusiastic tone, with lines that gush about “sparkle magic in the sky” and “happiness that never ends.” While the stanzas aren’t difficult to sing aloud, the refrain drones, and the uninspired verses—with occasionally strained rhymes such as “Twinkle, twinkle, come and play. / Oh, what things you find today”—edge toward cloying.

All sparkle and no substance. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3977-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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An acceptable and sturdy addition to the Easter basket for baby bunnies deemed too young to handle Dorothy Kunhardt's more...

FIVE LITTLE BUNNIES

Following on the successful Five Little Pumpkins (2003), Yaccarino teams with Rabe for bunnies.

The five pastel bunnies are cute enough, and the rhymes are accurate, if somewhat wordy for toddlers. But without a clear one-to-one relationship between the words and the pictures, it is not always clear which bunny is speaking and what is being counted. The bunnies, identified as first, second, and so on, hop around the pages instead of staying in a consistent order as the rhyme implies. Naming them by color might have been a better choice, but that would mean abandoning the finger-play counting-rhyme formula. The children who show up to hunt the eggs are a multicultural cast of cartoonish figures with those in the background drawn as blue and green silhouettes. Though the text on the back cover invites children to count the eggs, there is no hint as to how many eggs they should find. Neither the verse nor the pictures provide counting assistance. The youngest children will not care about any of this; they will be content to point out the different colors of the bunnies and the patterns on the eggs.

An acceptable and sturdy addition to the Easter basket for baby bunnies deemed too young to handle Dorothy Kunhardt's more satisfying but fragile classic, Pat the Bunny. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-225339-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Take it, or leave it.

THE ITSY BITSY SNOWMAN

A wintertime story that can be sung to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

The itsy bitsy snowman and his friends are playing in the snow. They climb up a snowy hill, jump on a sled, slide fast, and zip past children skating on ice. Then, though the text tells readers that he “dodged a snowball fight,” his head becomes separated from his body. Not to worry, “out came his friends / to lend a happy hand.” In the last spread the itsy bitsy snowman stands with his mom, dad, and friends, “And everything was perfect / in his winter wonderland.” The story, intended to be read to the tune of the beloved nursery rhyme, doesn’t always quite fit the template, as in: “The itsy bitsy snowman / climbed up the snowy hill. // He jumped on a sled / and slid fast…what a thrill!” For no obvious reason, on every page one word is printed in a different color from the rest of the text. Rescek’s illustrations are bright, cheery, and cartoonlike, with an appropriate wintry pale blue as the dominant color. Though sweet and cute, there is nothing particularly fresh or new here.

Take it, or leave it. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4837-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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