A perfect piece of treasure it is not, but shiver me timbers, it’s fun.

GO, GO, PIRATE BOAT

Two pirates and their parrot companion embark on adventures to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Following Car, Car, Truck, Jeep (2018), Charman and Sharratt team up again for this swashbuckling, musical tale. The two buccaneers and their parrot spend a day at sea engaged in such maritime activities as scrubbing the deck and hoisting the sail along with quintessentially piratical chores like digging up buried treasure. At the end of the day—which culminates in a nonviolent walk across the plank—the two pirates return home. Charman’s rhyming text has a nice cadence, and thanks to the cover note to sing along to the tune of “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat,” it moves along at a nice clip. For the most part, the rhymes work neatly into the tune so that it reads easily the first time through. Sharratt’s black-outlined illustrations are boldly colored and eye-catching. The pirates themselves are not obviously gendered; one presents white and the other has light-brown skin. Most of the ocean creatures have anthropomorphized features—a mostly successful choice with the exception of the jellyfish and octopus, shown awkwardly with humanlike noses and smiles (and, oddly, eyebrows for the octopus). Overall, this one holds high appeal for little readers, and the nature of the singsong-y, rhyming text will make it a highly requested reread.

A perfect piece of treasure it is not, but shiver me timbers, it’s fun. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0319-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An acceptable and sturdy addition to the Easter basket for baby bunnies deemed too young to handle Dorothy Kunhardt's more...

FIVE LITTLE BUNNIES

Following on the successful Five Little Pumpkins (2003), Yaccarino teams with Rabe for bunnies.

The five pastel bunnies are cute enough, and the rhymes are accurate, if somewhat wordy for toddlers. But without a clear one-to-one relationship between the words and the pictures, it is not always clear which bunny is speaking and what is being counted. The bunnies, identified as first, second, and so on, hop around the pages instead of staying in a consistent order as the rhyme implies. Naming them by color might have been a better choice, but that would mean abandoning the finger-play counting-rhyme formula. The children who show up to hunt the eggs are a multicultural cast of cartoonish figures with those in the background drawn as blue and green silhouettes. Though the text on the back cover invites children to count the eggs, there is no hint as to how many eggs they should find. Neither the verse nor the pictures provide counting assistance. The youngest children will not care about any of this; they will be content to point out the different colors of the bunnies and the patterns on the eggs.

An acceptable and sturdy addition to the Easter basket for baby bunnies deemed too young to handle Dorothy Kunhardt's more satisfying but fragile classic, Pat the Bunny. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-225339-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Take it, or leave it.

THE ITSY BITSY SNOWMAN

A wintertime story that can be sung to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

The itsy bitsy snowman and his friends are playing in the snow. They climb up a snowy hill, jump on a sled, slide fast, and zip past children skating on ice. Then, though the text tells readers that he “dodged a snowball fight,” his head becomes separated from his body. Not to worry, “out came his friends / to lend a happy hand.” In the last spread the itsy bitsy snowman stands with his mom, dad, and friends, “And everything was perfect / in his winter wonderland.” The story, intended to be read to the tune of the beloved nursery rhyme, doesn’t always quite fit the template, as in: “The itsy bitsy snowman / climbed up the snowy hill. // He jumped on a sled / and slid fast…what a thrill!” For no obvious reason, on every page one word is printed in a different color from the rest of the text. Rescek’s illustrations are bright, cheery, and cartoonlike, with an appropriate wintry pale blue as the dominant color. Though sweet and cute, there is nothing particularly fresh or new here.

Take it, or leave it. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4837-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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