A very cute but not so simple offering for tots.



Reich’s hamsters return (Up Hamster, Down Hamster, 2015, etc.).

The hamsters are back, but they’re not sitting still—they’re traveling to and fro in a wide variety of vehicles. The little critters use a train, a golf cart, even a moon rover to get around. The lovable hamsters are always smiling and having a good time, providing a basic but pleasurable board book for little readers. The coloring has a subdued palette that works well with the calm and straightforward text. “Hamsters in a golf cart / Hamsters in a sleigh // Hamsters drifting lazily / In a hamster way.” The book doesn’t boast a particularly involving or eye-catching style, but little readers with a penchant for small, furry mammals will surely be satisfied. The highlight for adult readers is the absurd vehicles these hamsters operate, including inner tubes, hot air balloons, and a pudgy yellow submarine. The relative busyness of the double-page spreads, which often relate to each other in no way at all (three hamsters in leotards balance on a unicycle on verso, while three different hamsters soar in a paper plane on recto, for instance), will challenge young readers developing a sense of narrative flow.

A very cute but not so simple offering for tots. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1016-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep.



A diver directly recruits his audience to explore the salty sea.

Closed, the shaped cover follows the curve of the diver’s helmet; open, it evokes goggles through which readers can explore the deep. A variety of underwater creatures are revealed through lifting flaps; brief rhyming text on the undersides of the flaps provides a little informational heft. These rhymes are not distinguished by their lyricism, alas. “Jellyfish are pretty— / some glow in the dark. / But don't swim too close— / their sting leaves a mark.” The simply drawn creatures are not depicted to scale. The seahorse dominates its page, while the toothy shark appears shorter than the sea turtle. Two-toned blue backgrounds evoke waves. Space Walk uses an identical format to survey the planets (all eight of them) and is equally superficial.

The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-8525-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Pass on this weak offering.


From the My First Stories series

A predictable board-book mystery.

The mystery involves a common childhood crisis—a lost toy. Ho’s trademark round-headed animals stand in for humans with a range of emotions, from the persistently worried Little Bunny to grumpy Pig. Each barnyard animal offers the distraught bunny a comforting alternative to his blanket, “Fluffy.” Finally, when Mouse admits to borrowing Fluffy for a snuggle, Little Bunny forgives him surprisingly quickly because, “I love my Fluffy for snuggling too.” The rhyming text presents problems—either by not actually rhyming (lost/most; fur/near) or falling inconsistently, making end rhymes unpredictable and less than useful in a book for pre-readers. Instead of letting the pictures tell the story, superfluous speaker attributions make this a tedious read-aloud and impede the rhyme: “ ‘I'll search the pond for your Fluffy,’ says Duck. / ‘I've looked underwater already. No luck!’ Fish tells Little Bunny.” The various flaps, foil inserts, and very small tactile elements are not intriguing enough to rescue the story. The tiny patch of wolf fur peeking through the page with the lambs is easily missed (and is disconcertingly far away from the picture of the wolf). Perhaps out of concern for the safety of the lamb, the wolf does not appear on the next page. No similar caution is shown when the owl shares a page with its prey. Do owls not eat chicks wearing spectacles?

Pass on this weak offering. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-2-7338-3235-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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