Beginning readers will just fly through their numbers.


A lively and original addition to the overstuffed genre of counting picture books.

The titular birds are clad in baggy red-striped sweaters and scarves and engage in playful activities: tumbling through the air, larking around in a tree, filching bugs and fruit, scavenging peanuts, plums, ants and crackers, and finally taking flight from a predatory cat. The illustrations capture the humorous character of this amusing bird; the cawing and crunching are almost audible as the crows descend en masse upon an inviting trash bin and rifle through its delectable contents. Appelt’s rhyming couplets are lively and onomatopoeic: “Nine little spicy ants, / nine round crackers. / Nine for the counting crows. / Nine, by smackers!” This is a real counting fest, as not only the crows, but the food they collect—berries, bugs and snacks—are fodder for the counting game and for improving reading skills at the same time. Dunlavey’s two-color illustrations in marker, pencil and watercolor have a refreshingly casual feel. The unusual typeface is well-chosen for this zany production, and it is sized and positioned with care in perfect relation to the illustrations. The book is attractively produced, with several different textured laminations on the cover, including cool fuzzy stripes for the crows’ sweaters.

Beginning readers will just fly through their numbers. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2327-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

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


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

Did you like this book?