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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Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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