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

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Light, friendly, and not at all preachy—a gentle win for a kinder world.

ABCS OF KINDNESS

Rhyming couplets use the alphabet to simply explain the abstract concept of kindness.

Each letter of the alphabet stands for a word that adds nuance to the notion while line drawings of pink-cheeked stuffed animals—bear, bunny, elephant, mouse, lion, and giraffe—illustrate the behavior. The verses hint at exactly how to act kindly. Some are concrete: “Ii is for inviting everyone to play.” Some suggest attitudes that facilitate kindness. For example, “Bb is for believing things will be okay in the end!” and “Hh is for hope—tomorrow’s another day!” While many might take issue with the simplistic assertion that “Ee is for everyone—we are all the same,” taken as a whole, the book will lead even the youngest toddlers to the message. Organizationally, the book devotes one page each to 11 letters while 14 others share pages. “Zz is sleeping peacefully when your day of kindness is through” sprawls across a final double-page spread, showing all the animals fast asleep. Creating an ABC book is harder than this makes it look. The true test is what is chosen to represent Q, X, Y, and Z. “Quiet times,” “Yes I can,” and the aforementioned “zzz”s ably rise to the challenge. “Xx is for kisses” is a bit of a stretch but understandable. Pastel backgrounds, uncluttered design, and unforced rhymes keep the focus on the concept.

Light, friendly, and not at all preachy—a gentle win for a kinder world. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-12307-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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