As in so many of his other books, Burningham’s appeal lies in his ability to invent a fantasy scenario available only to...

THE WAY TO THE ZOO

What could be more exciting than discovering a hidden door in your bedroom that opens to a secret passageway to the zoo?

With characteristic simplicity and economy of line, veteran illustrator Burningham conveys the wonder of Sylvie’s discovery, thus fulfilling a common childhood fantasy—to bring real, live zoo animals into your room and have them sleep in your bed. Sylvie visits the zoo every evening, chooses an animal and brings it to her room. Some are small enough to fit comfortably in her bed. Others are more problematic; a monkey steals things, the penguins splash noisily, and even the baby elephant is too big. Pandemonium erupts when one day Sylvie forgets to close the secret door and finds the animals crowded into her living room after school. The shy little girl finds a big voice within herself and bellows at the animals, who exit in a hurry. Sylvie rushes to clean up the mess before her mother gets home, setting up an innocent parental punch line: “[I]t looks as if you had the whole zoo in here!” Luckily, the way to the zoo remains a secret, and the animals can still visit her at night.

As in so many of his other books, Burningham’s appeal lies in his ability to invent a fantasy scenario available only to young children, accomplishing it again here with consummate grace .(Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7317-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

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 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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