As inclusive, adorable puppet playthings, this book and its companions succeed—but not so much on literary merit.

BIB ON, BUNNY!

From the Chatterboox series

This interactive board book features a finger-puppet bunny enjoying a meal at the table.

Even bunnies have to learn how to eat, as evidenced by the mess made at the end of the meal in this board book. The story encourages a conversational tone, with the main character—a bespectacled white child with features characteristic of Down syndrome—talking to the bunny while having a meal. The child’s dialogue appears on the left with the stuffed animal’s responses on the right. The finger-puppet bunny head is absolutely adorable: well done in three dimensions, complete with ears that stand up and a pink nose. The illustrations themselves are appropriately basic, all taking place at the same table with little variation in the child’s facial expressions and only minor changes to food and drink from page to page. The uncredited rhyming text is lackluster: child: “Carrot, Bunny? / All for you!” Bunny: “Crunch, crunch, crunch! / It’s good to chew!” The three other books in the series (Dive In, Ducky!, Play Time, Puppy!, and Sleep Tight, Teddy!) feature the same structure, successes, and struggles. It’s refreshing to see such inclusive treatment of disability. Teddy features a black-presenting child with a cochlear implant, and Puppy’s Asian-presenting protagonist wears a safety helmet, suggesting seizures. (Ducky’s protagonist presents white and has no evident disability.) The finger puppets remain adorable across the series.

As inclusive, adorable puppet playthings, this book and its companions succeed—but not so much on literary merit. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78628-207-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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WONDER

After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are...

1-2-3 PEAS

After an alphabetical, rhyming tour de force (LMNO Peas, 2010), Baker’s energetic pea pack is back—this time, to count by ones and 10s.

Baker sidesteps the trickiness of rhyming the numerals by selecting a repeating word for each short verse. “ONE pea searching—look, look, look, / TWO peas fishing—hook, hook, hook.” Those numerals rise sky-high (to peas, at least) to dominate the digitally composed visuals, often serving as props for the frenzy of vegetative activity. At “TEN peas building—pound, pound, pound,” the peas erect a wooden platform around the numeral—mainly, it would seem, as an excuse for exuberantly hammering dozens of nails. Baker circumvents those oft-pesky ’teens in one deft double-page spread: “Eleven to nineteen—skip, skip, skip!” Then it’s a double-page spread per decade, with peas traveling, napping, watching fireworks and more. “SEVENTY peas singing” provide a bevy of details to spy: A fab foursome (the Peatles) rocks out above a chorus and director. Nearby, a barbershop quartet, a Wagnerian soloist, a showering pea and a dancing “Peayoncé” add to the fun. 

Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are sure to devour Baker’s latest winner. Totally ap-pea-ling! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4551-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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