DUCK’S KEY, WHERE CAN IT BE?

Good lift-the-flap books provide a sense of discovery and the engaging pleasures of being a co-conspirator. This one from Alborough is a good one, exercising the bean while tickling the bone. It is a very simple affair: Duck, with his feather-fingered hands as big as Shaquille O’Neal and his cavernous orange beak, has lost the keys to his truck. But not so fast—they have actually been purloined by frog, who hides behind various features on the page and invites readers to join his game of hide-and-seek. Attentive kids will note a developing pattern and little clues. At 18 pages, the ruse won’t be extended into cruelty, and the ending is a gift to the duck, who merrily drives off without his suitcase. The air of mischief is light and fun and the sturdy-paper construction should keep the flaps flapping for many a hard yank. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-929132-72-7

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2005

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TIME TO PEE!

That most basic of functions, subject of countless earnest tomes, at last receives a treatment whose instructional value is equaled by its entertainment value. “If you ever get that funny feeling . . . ” reads a series of signs borne by a host of cheerful, cartoony mice as they fly, drive, march, and (in at least one instance) get shot from a cannon past a bevy of dubious-looking multicultural children: “don’t PANIC! Don’t FRET!” The simple text is direct, not without humor (“And please don’t ignore it!”), and wonderfully child-wise, providing the critical reassurance that “everything will still be right where it was.” The multitudinous mice in their kite-flying, instrument-playing, sky-diving, helicopter-driving variety constitute a visual feast that enlivens the simple text and will keep the inevitable re-readings from becoming snooze-inducing. The uncluttered layout allows the children to take center stage while the legions of mice, with their text-bearing signs, happily perform their supporting roles. Those kids move from doubt to magnificent relief to pride in a happily encouraging progression, making this offering number one in the potty department. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7868-1868-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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The novelty of the fold-out train is really what keeps readers chugging along.

CHRISTMAS TRAIN

A Christmas counting adventure on a fold-out board-book train.

There are 20 different holiday items on this particular train, which folds out to a whopping 56 inches. A little clumsy to manipulate, the folding feature allows readers either to spread the book out across the floor or to hold it for a lap reading. The rhyming text gives the book a nice pace, with alliteration and rich vocabulary: “3 Christmas trees, sparkling spruce and pine. / 4 paper packages tied with festive twine.” Though the text is for the most part well done, readers will note that one phrase just doesn’t make sense: “10 shining stars, silent watches gleaming.” The crisp illustrations are full of bright colors with some nice details, like stained glass on a tiny church window and a little rooster weathervane atop a house. Beyond the wheels, the train cars don’t really resemble the real deal. Instead, the focus is on the countable items, helping readers succeed in the challenge of numbers beyond 10. It can be a challenge: “19 children nice as can be” are difficult to count, as the children are represented by small lines on a long and twisty list (presumably Santa’s). As a holiday-themed book with a gimmick, this one succeeds, with nice-enough text and illustrations.

The novelty of the fold-out train is really what keeps readers chugging along. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64170-165-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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