A very cute but not so simple offering for tots.

HAMSTERS ON THE GO

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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This holiday ditty misses too many beats.

THE ITSY BITSY PILGRIM

From the Itsy Bitsy series

The traditional story of the first Thanksgiving is set to the tune of “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and stars rodents instead of humans.

The titular itsy-bitsy Pilgrim, a mouse dressed in iconic Puritan garb, sails to “a home that’s new” with three other mice on the Mayflower. They build a house, shovel snow, and greet some “itsy bitsy new friends,” who are chipmunks dressed as Native Americans complete with feathered headbands, beaded necklaces, and leather clothing. While Rescek’s art is droll and lively, it is wildly idealized, and the Native Americans’ clothing does not reflect what is understood of Wampanoag attire. The companion title, The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer, presents equally buoyant scenes. The reindeer and several elves, who appear to be white children with pointed ears, help Santa (also white) prepare for his annual sleigh-ride delivery. In both books, would-be singers may struggle to fit all the words and syllables into the meter, and a couple of rhymes are extremely forced (“shop” and “job”?).

This holiday ditty misses too many beats. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6852-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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

DEEP SEA DIVE

LIFT-THE-FLAP ADVENTURES

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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