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

READ REVIEW

UP HAMSTER, DOWN HAMSTER

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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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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