An early-reader book to build on.

DIG, SCOOP, KA-BOOM!

An accessible, rhyming text drives this story-with-a-twist about a construction site, inviting new readers to hone their emerging skills.

Initial spreads depict a variety of vehicles engaged in digging, scooping, lifting and so on, detailing the activities of a construction site. Varied visual perspectives in the art draw the eyes to the different machines, but they can be disorienting—particularly in the worm’s-eye view on the spread reading “Digger’s teeth bite the ground,” which does not show the “[t]racks skid[ding] around” as indicated by the text. On the other hand, while some readers may wonder why the vehicles’ operators are not seen in the art, this omission is satisfyingly resolved in a long-shot spread that depicts a group of children playing with toy trucks in a sand pile. The vehicles are clearly miniversions of those from prior pages, and it’s refreshing to see both boys and girls and at least one child of color included in the group “working like a team.” From here, the narrative draws the children’s play to a conclusion by book’s end, providing readers with a fictive parallel to their own accomplishments in finishing the book: “Good work, crew!”

An early-reader book to build on. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-96910-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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A buoyant introduction to many different maritime pursuits.

BOATS WILL FLOAT

Many types of working and pleasure craft are depicted in this humorous, straightforward picture book.

Curzon’s vibrantly colored illustrations bubble with plenty of detail, enough to help children recognize different boat types they may encounter on a trip to the ocean or harbor. The storyline progresses more or less through the day in different marine locations, from early morning, when fishing boats are starting out and dragon boats are “flying by,” to a gentle nighttime sailing scene. The view changes as the boats change, cycling through rolling waves, a festive beach tableau, underwater scenes as studied by divers from a research vessel and the crew of a submarine before culminating in the family depicted in the opening illustration, going to bed in their houseboat. This family is white; the crews of the various boats include some people of color. Rosenbaum’s text consists of easy, rolling rhymes, with plenty of descriptive language to conjure up the scene: “Sunlight sizzles, hot and bright”; boats “rise and fall in liquid motion”; Salty breezes. / Seagulls squalling.” There’s plenty of engaging visual detail, including a spread in which the signal flag alphabet is shown and the flags on two boats spell out the book’s title.

A buoyant introduction to many different maritime pursuits. (picture glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-53411-041-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Young audiences will join in the general applause, and they may come away with a broadened notion of what a “win” looks like...

HOT ROD HOT DOG

Doodler concocts an updated—and considerably tweaked—version of “The Tortoise and the Hare.”

There’s no “slow and steady” here. Grimly determined to beat Shelly “Shell on Wheels” Turtle, for once, in the annual Pickleberry Grand Prix, Rod the dachshund sets out to design and build a homemade racer. With help from Goldie Goldfish and after many failed experiments, Rod roars to the starting line in a souped-up lawn mower (as previewed on the cover, wreathed in flames thanks to an embedded spinner) fitted with “an extra-special mystery button.” The race is on! In the thick-lined, very simple cartoons, an all-animal cast stands on hind legs (or fins) beside an array of race cars with clever monikers like Goldie’s “Fishbowler” and Charlie Chicken’s “Egg-Sterminator.” Roaring around the track, Rod and Shelly are neck and neck…until a patch of oil suddenly sends Shelly into a tailspin. Rather than let her crash, Rod pushes the mystery button—to activate an ejection seat—snags Shelly as he flies by, and carries her over the finish line to a shared triumph. In the last scene, he and his erstwhile rival (evidently a good sport) share the trophy as they wave from the winner’s stand.

Young audiences will join in the general applause, and they may come away with a broadened notion of what a “win” looks like too. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6607-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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