Add this to the young vehicle enthusiast’s bookshelf.

Enter the big green garage and see a car and a truck being fixed.

The interactivity starts right from the cover when readers are invited to slide open the green roll-up door of the garage. Children who are past the stage of naming transportation vehicles and are now interested in more detail will delight in what they will find inside, where a team of mechanics is in charge. Rhyming text explains the process. First the tow truck brings the car in to be fixed, the tools are gathered, and then the car is put on a lift, “Drain the oil. / Change the plugs. / Quiet noises. / Smooth out bugs.” The book is rich in car-related vocabulary, such as funnel, jack, plugs, wires, wrench, nut, hose, battery, belt, and muffler—a veritable trove for little mechanics in the making. To add to the fun, there are flaps to open, a wheel to turn, and objects to slide. Little hands may find some of these interactive elements difficult to move, particularly the sliding ones; a truck that can be moved along a curvy track will probably not hold up long but will be fun while it lasts. The gouache, pen, and digital collage illustrations are appealing, and the characters portrayed represent diverse ethnicities.

Add this to the young vehicle enthusiast’s bookshelf. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7074-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022


Unfortunate and inappropriate.

Mouse, squirrel, bird, rabbit, boar and deer all wonder what an acorn will become, and it promises to feed and shelter these animals once it is grown.

Each critter, arriving on the scene in profile, greets the acorn on a double-page spread and asks, “Little acorn, little acorn, what will you be?” The answers that the acorn gives, in a loose rhyme scheme, vary slightly, but its response to the boar is the most creative: “Someday I’ll be a great big tree, and my bark will scratch your back.” The last few pages show the acorn growing into a tall oak and fulfilling its pledge to the animals. Against swathes of green representing a grassy landscape, Gibbs’ creatures, which look to have been created with watercolor and ink, are comically droll and add energy to the staid subject matter. Attached to the cover are two unnecessary felt leaves, thus making the book “Not suitable for children under 3 years old,” as the very tiny fine print on the back of the book notes. As was also the case with Gibbs’ Little Bee (2012), which had fabric wings on the cover, this choking-hazard gimmick makes the book unsafe to use with the typical board-book audience of babies and toddlers and severely limits the age range with which this title can be shared.

Unfortunate and inappropriate. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-12708-0

Page Count: 20

Publisher: LB Kids/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013


From the Seek and Peek series

While the information is solid and simply presented, and the photos are eye-catching, the layout gets in the way of clarity....

This introduction to zoology features a cover of layered, bubble-shaped pages of various sizes, each with an image of a zoo animal peeking through.

Once a page is turned, bright stock photos of animals with similar characteristics or from the same genus are grouped together across the spread, united by a solid background color. A heading introduces them (such as “Gone fishing” for seafood-eating birds and mammals), and one or two simple facts are shared. The creatures themselves provide additional and more specific information via speech bubbles. One section of each spread still retains the image that is visible from the cover and hints at what is coming next on the verso. Unfortunately, this Seek and Peek gimmick of shaped pages creates a visually confusing layout. In the “Burly bears” section, for example, all of the creatures on the page are bears (brown bear, polar bear and panda), but a maned lion and his cub do appear in their own section of the page against a different background. In the Rainforest, another in the series, featuring a variety of rain forest dwellers from around the world, also suffers from layout issues. The final page explains that some animals live high in the trees while others live on the rain forest floor, but the critters’ haphazard placement doesn’t support the point. Dinosaurs, yet another Seek and Peek book, uses photorealistic, computer-generated images of dinosaurs from various eras. Prehistoric creatures are grouped in such categories as “Scary hunters,” “Speedy” and more. The Seek and Peek format serves this topic most poorly, since some of the page sizes will confuse readers as to the size and scale of the subjects (the largest dinosaurs, brachiosaurus and diplodocus, are on the medium-sized pages at the middle of the book, which dwarf these creatures’ stature).

While the information is solid and simply presented, and the photos are eye-catching, the layout gets in the way of clarity. Stick with Kingfisher’s Baby Animals series for zoology in board-book form. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: May 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7534-6941-5

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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