A humorous introduction to counting and farm animals.

HIDE 'N' SHEEP

A playful counting book about a sheep who is a master of disguise.

The ovine protagonist is ready to play hide-and-seek, but watch out—this woolly friend is a master of disguise! Every page of this counting book features cartoon illustrations of a sheep hiding with groups of animals around the farm, each time donning a disguise that is sure to make both older toddlers and adults giggle. For example, the sheep hides with the cows by painting spots on itself and hides with the ducks by wearing a fake beak. Sattler’s narration is sprinkled with silly puns and turns of phrase that are perfectly attuned to young children’s sense of humor. The book charmingly begins in the second person, with the sheep asking readers to come play. Unfortunately, though, in the ensuing pages the voice shifts away from the sheep to third-person statements expressed in rhyming couplets, a choice that misses the opportunity to continue to tease readers, not to mention to inject additional humor into the storytelling. Furthermore, children who are learning to count may be confused about whether or not to count the disguised sheep on each page. Overall, though, the rhyming text is rhythmic, clever, and fun to read aloud, especially when accompanied by Shum’s laugh-out-loud illustrations.

A humorous introduction to counting and farm animals. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0397-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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