LITTLE CHICKEN'S BIG DAY

A close-up of a neon-yellow chick beckons from the bright-blue front cover. On the first page a very large, handlike wing pushes open the door to reveal sleepy Little Chicken. Then it comes: “Rise ’n’ shine!” Ominously, Big (mama) Chicken continues to bellow out exclamatory commands to her tiny chick. The usual parent-given directives are issued at a rapid pace: “Wash your face! Brush your teeth! Get dressed! Finish your food!” Little Chicken looks up and answers, deadpan, “I hear you cluckin’, Big Chicken.” Off they go, with Little Chicken scampering in untied red sneakers while Big Chicken briskly marches forth in red heels and white handbag with orders to “Follow me!” and “Stay close!” But Little Chicken becomes mesmerized by a teeny purple butterfly and loses track of mama. Even as he begins to quake, Big Chicken appears on the next spread, melodiously clucking her child’s name. Once reunited, the pair happily heads home. The Davis team boldly plays with the use of white space (or sometimes blue or green) and strong black lines to propel the visual storytelling. Proportions and angles change as the story progresses to reflect Little Chicken’s understanding and appreciation of his mother’s watchful words. Be sure to share with willful toddlers and rambunctious preschoolers—they will easily relate to Little Chicken. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: April 19, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1401-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

FAMILIES BELONG

A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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