This is a book that young children will easily remember and recite after a reading or two.

READ REVIEW

ON MY BIKE

A skunk upsets a fall bicycle ride through the country.

A mother, a young child, both wearing their helmets, and a dog leave a father and baby and start off on a bike ride. They start near the sea, go past a pond with ducks, stop by a farm, pick some apples, and then meet up with the skunk. They reverse their tracks and find the rest of the family. The simple rhyming text is enlivened with onomatopoeic sounds: “I hear my bike, clackety-clack, clackety-clack / and some ducks, quackety-quack, quackety-quack.” The genderless child looks a little young to be riding without training wheels, but the brown-skinned tot is having a good time. The child, the baby (just a round head sticking out from an orange front pack), and the mother are a slight tone darker than the father. The dad takes care of the infant while the mom goes on the short adventure with the older child, reflecting contemporary families. The humans, the bikes, and the dog are boldly outlined and flatly drawn, but the autumnal landscape (evidently Vancouver, the illustrator’s home) has contrasting textures. The olive greens and browns are subtle colors for this age group, but there are red and gold highlights as well as the bold outlines to keep eyes focused. Small size, short text, and common experiences make this a good choice for reading aloud at home or to a small group. Publishing simultaneously is On My Skis, which finds the same family enjoying the winter; the dad takes the child out for what appears to be a first downhill-skiing experience, while the mom and the baby (tucked in a sled) watch.

This is a book that young children will easily remember and recite after a reading or two. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-926890-13-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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A quiet book about making a giant leap.

LOTTIE & WALTER

Lottie knows something no one else knows. Her mother and brother don’t know. Her swimming instructor does not know, and the other children in swim class certainly don’t know.

There is a shark that lives in the pool. It wants to eat Lottie—only Lottie—and Lottie is not going to let it get anywhere near her. Most children have had moments when they’ve sat on the sidelines watching others laugh and play because they were too scared to just dive in, and that is precisely where Lottie finds herself. Lucky for her, Walter shows up just in time. He sings, they read books, play in bubbles, and even share the same favorite food. But when it comes time for Lottie to face her fears, can Walter truly help? Walter, as readers and Lottie see but her family may not, is an enormous walrus. Walker’s soft and appropriately watery illustrations complement and extend her whimsical text, lending a dreamlike feel to the story. Readers will discern the shadowy, predatory shape of the shark below the surface of the water even as Lottie’s classmates splash and play, and they will sympathize, and they will giggle at the depictions of Walter’s huge bulk in Lottie’s tidy urban home while believing that Walter will protect her. Lottie, her mother, and her brother have light-brown skin and black hair.

A quiet book about making a giant leap. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-47038-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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