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

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. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019


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

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 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016


A perfect piece of treasure it is not, but shiver me timbers, it’s fun.

Two pirates and their parrot companion embark on adventures to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Following Car, Car, Truck, Jeep (2018), Charman and Sharratt team up again for this swashbuckling, musical tale. The two buccaneers and their parrot spend a day at sea engaged in such maritime activities as scrubbing the deck and hoisting the sail along with quintessentially piratical chores like digging up buried treasure. At the end of the day—which culminates in a nonviolent walk across the plank—the two pirates return home. Charman’s rhyming text has a nice cadence, and thanks to the cover note to sing along to the tune of “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat,” it moves along at a nice clip. For the most part, the rhymes work neatly into the tune so that it reads easily the first time through. Sharratt’s black-outlined illustrations are boldly colored and eye-catching. The pirates themselves are not obviously gendered; one presents white and the other has light-brown skin. Most of the ocean creatures have anthropomorphized features—a mostly successful choice with the exception of the jellyfish and octopus, shown awkwardly with humanlike noses and smiles (and, oddly, eyebrows for the octopus). Overall, this one holds high appeal for little readers, and the nature of the singsong-y, rhyming text will make it a highly requested reread.

A perfect piece of treasure it is not, but shiver me timbers, it’s fun. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0319-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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