This poodle lacks pizzazz, but it’s a decent effort overall.

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MY NEW FRIENDS

From the Early Concepts series

A personable poodle introduces youngsters to some animal friends and to primary and secondary colors, too.

This Early Concepts volume utilizes engaging and expressive characters, bright hues, an appealing rhyme scheme, and a clear, simple concluding lesson to convey some basic concepts about color. “Would you like to meet my new friends?” asks a wide-eyed, gray poodle, who then presents the rest of the cast: a red bear, an orange cat, a yellow snake, a blue snail, a green frog, and a purple squirrel—and a rat, dog, and hog for good measure. The rhymed introductions are simple and fun: “Red bear braids hair. / Oh, what flair!” (Three braids in different colors suddenly appear atop the bear’s head.) “Orange cat knits a hat. / For a little rat.” (The rat and the cat are already wearing matching hats, but another one is underway.) Sentence structure and punctuation aside, the ideas flow in easily digested bites. At the end is a simple lesson in chromatics: “Did you know,” asks the poodle, “that a branch of science is concerned with colors?” On the final page, the book’s colorful cohorts present the primary colors and mix them to create secondary hues. Companion volume My New Haircut deals with shapes less effectively. The variously shaped haircuts, though silly, resemble hats or helmets more than styled hair, undermining the central conceit, and the concluding descriptions of a five-pointed star and a triangle should state “this star,” and “this triangle,” as not all triangles or five-pointed stars are equilateral.

This poodle lacks pizzazz, but it’s a decent effort overall. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7643-5914-9

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Though slight, this story has compensatory interactive components and characters that are time-tested kid-pleasers.

SHARK BITE!

Poor Mark the shark can’t make any friends because all the other fish are frightened of his teeth.

When a crab pinches Mark’s tail, Mark gets angry and yells for all the fish to come out: “If you won’t be my friends, then you’ll be my dinner!” At this, a concerned octopus reaches out to Mark, accidentally tickling him and making him laugh. When the other fish hear the shark laugh, they realize he’s not actually scary after all, and suddenly, Mark has lots of fishy friends. Each double-page spread has a slider, allowing readers to move the shark’s teeth up and down by pulling a tab, making him cry, chomp, and laugh. Companion volume Dino Chomp, also featuring big biting teeth operated by sliders, tells the story of a T. Rex tricked out of his dinner. Both titles suffer from flimsy plots and generic art, depending on the interactivity of the moving mouths to draw kids in. Considering how satisfying it is to make those teeth go chomp, chomp, chomp, though, it may be enough.

Though slight, this story has compensatory interactive components and characters that are time-tested kid-pleasers. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0107-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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