HERE COMES TRUCK DRIVER HIPPO

From the Little Hippo Story series

In this latest series installment, the titular character decides that today is “a good day to be a truck driver.”

Accompanied by his monkey sidekick, Little Hippo is on a mission to take sand to the little cubs—“vroom! vroom!” To find out who the lucky little cubs are, young readers will have to wait a bit. Meanwhile, Little Hippo gets plenty of help along the way. Giant Crocodile helps fill the truck with sand—“snap! snap!” A herd of zebras make way so Little Hippo can get through, and Big Hairy Gorilla offers bananas to the hungry duo. Great Horned Rhino removes a log blocking the way, and Long Neck Giraffe stretches her long neck as a barrier as a train rumbles by. At every turn, Little Hippo says thank you by declaring, “You’re the best!” Eventually, the sand is delivered, and after some play, Little Hippo and the monkey head back home, where two moms await with reassuring hugs. The terrain the duo traverse is filled with fantastical vegetation with a Seussian vibe, the charming illustrations rendered in bright, saturated colors. Young readers will easily follow this uncomplicated adventure and delight at finding out how it wraps up. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Simple and sweet. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63592-589-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Astra Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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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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