THE WHEELS ON THE BUS

From the Play-Doh series

A favorite kids’ song with a Play-Doh twist.

This large-sized board book includes an easy-to-push blue button in the bottom right-hand corner of each page that, when depressed, plays the familiar, titular tune, encouraging kids to sing along. The words to one verse of the song are printed on each page spread: The wheels go ’round and ’round; the driver says, “Move on back”; the people bounce up and down; the baby wails, “Wah-wah-wah”; the horn beeps; the wipers swish; and finally, the wheels go ’round once more. The unusual illustrations depict figures made of Play-Doh against a digital outdoor backdrop. The requisite yellow bus is driven by a quirky-looking ostrich whose passengers are an assortment of animals, including a giraffe, a koala, a zebra, a mommy and baby bear, a monkey and more. The bus is shown rolling past office buildings, rows of houses and a playground as it makes its way through town. Unfortunately, the nature of the modeled figures means that the illustrations are extremely static; there’s no sense that these animals are going up and down at all, for instance. Companion volume Old MacDonald Had a Farm also features a recorded tune, one verse of the song per spread and plenty of cute clay critters. For Play-Doh lovers and little ones who can’t get enough of their favorite songs. (Board book. 2-4)  

 

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-160710-920-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books

BIG FISH LITTLE FISH

From the My Little World series

A mix of marine-life fact and fiction introduces opposites.

With its iconic shape, the eye-catching cover cutout of a bright-orange fish is instantly appealing. Layered die cuts of decreasing size provide texture and handholds for little fingers and form the bodies of varying species of fish. Information about fish habits and habitats is crammed into wordy rhymes with the opposing terms in boldface, but the accuracy of those facts is debatable. Though it’s fair to call the eel “long and very wiggly,” contrasting it with a generic, short yellow fish that’s a rhyme-forced “giggly” introduces a jarring anthropomorphism. In fact, stereotypical human emotions or motivations are attributed to the fish on almost every page. On another page, the slow fish (the only fish not painted with a smile) says, “Even with a big head start, I knew I'd finish last”—a distressingly defeatist message in an otherwise cheery board book. Inexplicably, the final spread depicts all the fish in party hats—turning it into a birthday book. While this may extend its use in day cares, it doesn't help young children learn opposites.

A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58925-215-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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