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From the Follow-the-Trail series

Purchase for children who need action while they read, but read along to ensure that they slow down to actually look at the...

This board book and its simultaneously publishing companion, Around the World, start with an intriguing and potentially useful premise, providing pre-readers with an indented track to trace their ways through the pictures.

If the goal is to train these very young children to “read” from left to right, the gimmick is a failure: the line doesn’t usually follow the conventions of reading English, nor is the rhyming text always parallel to the tracking line. For example, on one double-page spread, the line moves down the page, back to the left, then across and up the opposite page, to end in front of a car facing left. On the other hand, if the goal is to provide an activity so wiggly children will be content to spend time looking at each page, it might work. More likely the young reader will focus on the track and forget to look at the detailed but rather small illustrations done in the muted shades of retro letterpress. There is actually much to study and talk about on each page— different kinds of cars, houses, and hidden owl characters, plus some images not expected in a book for toddlers. (Can you find the sewer rat or UFO?) The “follow-the-trail” interaction seems to be an unnecessary gimmick and distraction.

Purchase for children who need action while they read, but read along to ensure that they slow down to actually look at the pictures. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0076-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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From the Boynton on Board series

Peek, and you’ll find a rollicking romp here.

The favorite game of toddlers gets a dino twist.

A large dinosaur tries to outsmart a smaller companion when the duo play peekaboo together. The big dino naïvely believes they won’t be noticed behind or under sundry hiding places, but the little pal always finds their playmate. Young listeners will giggle as the large dino attempts to outwit the little one, but in vain; in every instance, the diminutive, overalls-clad dino calls out a triumphant “Peekaboo!” How come? Is it because thin tree trunks and a potted plant can’t conceal the large dino’s frame? Do the big dino’s bold, flower-print shirts stick out a mile? Even when the large dinosaur attempts an aerial hiding place, they discover that ruse doesn’t, ahem, fly, nor does hiding in a crowd wearing a Where’s Waldo?–esque red-striped cap and T-shirt do any good. In a display of good sportsmanship, the big dino concedes at the end the game was fun. The youngest audiences, all of whom will have likely engaged in marathon peekaboo sessions themselves, will undoubtedly scramble to play again. Besides stimulating playtime, this adorable board book, expressed in lilting rhymes, boosts vocabulary development through the use of some common prepositions (behind, in) and adverbs (here, there, everywhere). The illustrations are sweetly engaging; the round cutout on the front cover invites youngsters to play peekaboo games with adult partners and others. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Peek, and you’ll find a rollicking romp here. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-66592-840-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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