What job will Little Hippo tackle next? Readers will be there for it.

HERE COMES FIREFIGHTER HIPPO

From the Little Hippo Story series

The imaginative Little Hippo is back, this time as a pint-sized firefighter.

Dressed in a firefighter’s coat and hat, Little Hippo jumps into his adorable (and lifelike) pedal car—readers will drool, as it’s the perfect fire engine, complete with bell, ladder and hose—and he’s off to fight fires. But his job is not without its obstacles. He gets stuck in the muck where Big Hippo is wallowing. “Big Hippo bumped and thumped and—plup!—pushed the fire truck out.” Then, he gets trapped by the tall grass (Graceful Gazelle comes to the rescue) and can’t quite make it up a steep hill (Very Tall Giraffe acts as a crane). Then it’s past Laughing Hyena (who laughs at him) and a very quick zip past snoring Lion. Suddenly, there’s thunder and lighting. Could it be? A real fire! Firefighter Hippo’s reaction is spot-on childlike—he goes to look for help, finding it in Elephant. Quite satisfied with the job he has accomplished, Firefighter Hippo heads home to show Mama how he puts out fires, squirting her with his fire hose. More engaging than London and Eduar’s first collaboration (Here Comes Doctor Hippo, 2012), Little Hippo’s story charms readers with copious onomatopoeia. Observant readers can see clues as to the next animal Little Hippo will encounter in the gouache illustrations, which are full of Seuss-ian colors and de Brunhoff–esque shapes.

What job will Little Hippo tackle next? Readers will be there for it. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59078-968-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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