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This traditional spiritual is the basis of a new counting book with bright, happy collages of animals entering Noah’s ark. They swing along with a bright blue sky and green grass dotted with flowers as the background. Noah begins the song with the building of a long, gray ark and at the end of the verses is seen drawing up the gangplank with all of the groups of animals represented at the ark windows. He is not seen as the animals enter the ark, the better for small fingers to count each animal, from the elephant chewing a honey bun to the ten hens, the last of which says, “We’re the last ones in!” The groups of animals, kangaroos, polar bears, bulls, llamas, monkeys, flamingoes, aardvarks, turtles, and hens are each given a double spread with the verse in the upper-left-hand corner. The numeral appears before the verse, but the numbers for four and five are barely discernible against the blue sky. The entire text, including that on the jacket, rolls up and down, giving the feeling of a wave. The collage includes handpainted papers using watercolor and crayon giving details and texture to the art. The introduction asks the reader—“Can you count the animals as they come? You may notice that the animals aren’t boarding in pairs! Count and sing along with Noah and the animals—you can even try to make up your own words as you go!” The refrain with the music appears at the front with encouragement to repeat the chorus after each verse. The verses and the animals are completely adapted and, at times, are forced, as in “So then the voyage did begin . . .” and “For forty days and nights they sat . . . Till they finally landed on Ararat.” This song will be thoroughly enjoyed by very young children, with parents or caregivers joining in. Its graphics and design are clear and joyous, and lends itself to a group reading. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-316-60702-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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