Count on this title and its companion for some zippy, zany fun.

READ REVIEW

DIRTY BIRDIES

Five birds of different shapes and sizes count off and clean up.

The first dirty birdie, with long, ostrichlike legs and yellow-spotted blue feathers, dirties itself in a mud puddle and then meets another birdie, a green, ducklike bird that’s splotched with paint. The number of “dirty birdies” increases with an “exploring birdie,” a “digging birdie,” and a “snacking birdie,” while the simple text enumerates and adds them. The birdies get cleaned up in a giant bathtub only for the crew to be tempted afterward to frolic in a dirty puddle to chase a butterfly. The final double-page spread encourages readers to count the birdies in a variety of ways (“How many short dirty birdies are there?”). To form her droll and highly animated creations, it looks as though Sattler took a few iconic cartoon birds and put them in a blender with a muted color palette to arrive at these beasties. The companion title, Jungle Gym, features a monkey, a rhinoceros, a zebra, and several other wild animals who demonstrate prepositions and their opposites in a child’s playground. For comic effect, the snake wraps itself around the tire swing, and the giraffe sticks its head through a tunnel.

Count on this title and its companion for some zippy, zany fun. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-389-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Lit with sweetness.

SHARE SOME KINDNESS, BRING SOME LIGHT

Coco, who loves her gentle friend Bear, is shocked to learn that the other forest animals do not know about his kindness.

Inspired by one of her grandmother’s favorite maxims, Coco, a girl with light brown skin and curly brown hair, works with Bear to “share some kindness [and] bring some light” to the other animals in the forest. Interpreting it literally, the two make cookies (kindness) and lanterns (light) to share with the other animals. They trek through the snow-covered forest to deliver their gifts, but no one trusts Bear enough to accept them. As night begins to fall, Bear and Coco head home with the lanterns and cookies. On the way through the quiet forest, they hear a small voice pleading for help; it’s Baby Deer, stuck in the snow. They help free him, and Bear gives the young one a ride home on his back. When the other animals see both that Baby Deer is safe and that Bear is responsible for this, they begin to recognize all the wonderful things about Bear that they had not noticed before. The episode is weak on backstory—how did Coco and Bear become friends? Why don’t the animals know Bear better by now?—but Stott’s delicately inked and colored illustrations offer beguiling views of lightly anthropomorphized woodland critters that make it easy to move past these stumbling blocks. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

Lit with sweetness. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6238-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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