For a genuinely engaging hamster adventure (for slightly older children), pick up Peggy Rathman's 10 Minutes Till Bedtime...


Hamsters demonstrate opposites in this new board book.

The back cover proclaims, “Hamsters love their opposites!” but there is not much to love about this slight overview of contrasting pairs strung together with a visual narrative arc set at what appears to be a summer camp. The pages are sturdy and the hamsters are cute, but that's not enough to make anyone fall in love. Health-conscious readers may take exception to one of Reich's choices. She illustrates “YES” with a piece of cake and “NO” with a steaming bowl of greens—hardly a positive message to give children about vegetables. The most original pairing is “SHHH hamster / SHOUT hamster,” in which one reading hamster decides to make a ruckus and disturb two other peaceful hamsters. After a speedy romp through the day culminating with “DAY hamster” (three hamsters float in a canoe) and “Night hamster” (three hamsters toast marshmallows), the story ends abruptly with “Out like a light HAMSTERS.” The last four pages feel like filler: all eight hamsters are seen smiling in a line, followed by the copyright information on the last interior page and then, on the inside back cover, repeated images of six objects seen earlier in the book.

For a genuinely engaging hamster adventure (for slightly older children), pick up Peggy Rathman's 10 Minutes Till Bedtime (1998)—an exact opposite of this weak offering. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1013-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


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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An upbeat Easter outing with a beloved character.


From the Little Pookie series

Pookie celebrates Easter with a play date and holiday activities.

Pookie’s friend Bean, a gray puppy, comes over for Easter fun that includes lots of bouncing around and egg decorating. After Bean goes home, Pookie gets excited about the Easter Bunny’s arrival and goes to sleep dreaming of a large chocolate egg. Like the other Pookie books before it, this one is told in rhyme from the perspective of a loving grown-up addressing the little pig, which keeps the pace moving and makes for a great read-aloud. Bean and Pookie are realistically—and endearingly—childlike, from Pookie’s pronunciation of yellow as “lellow!” to the joyful mess they make while decorating eggs. There are plenty of sweet and festive touches, such as the bunny ears that Bean and Pookie (and Pookie’s teddy) wear and the daffodils painted on the end of Pookie’s bed. The illustrations include large, full-page images as well as smaller vignettes against solid backgrounds. One page shows Pookie and parent looking out the window at the moon, anticipating Easter’s spoils. For fans of Boynton and little Pookie, this Easter tale is exactly as expected: a touch of playfulness, a relatable story, and comfort in the familiar. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An upbeat Easter outing with a beloved character. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-66592-838-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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