This serviceable bedtime story will find the most appeal with families of multiples and brother/sister pairs.

WHO'S WHO?

A classic counting rhyme is subjected to a lackluster treatment in this retelling that focuses on twins.

Inspired by his own set of twins and the repetitive rhythm of the poem "Over in the Meadow," Geist features six pairs of animal twins in various habitats. Beginning with a calf twosome on a farm (“Over in the barnyard / where the cows moo and moo, / lives a noisy little calf / and her loud twin, Blue”), the rhyming text continues with bunnies that hop in a garden, long-tailed monkeys that swing in jungle trees, shiny fish that swim in a pond, “itty bitty” bats that flap in a cave, and, finally, silly owlets in the night sky, which giggle and wish children a good night. Cole’s cartoonish animals, rendered in acrylic and colored pencil, are usually the highlight of any of his collaborations. Perhaps drawing little inspiration from the pedestrian text, the illustrations lack his typical energy and charm.

This serviceable bedtime story will find the most appeal with families of multiples and brother/sister pairs. [Note: An earlier version of this review was published in the July 1, 2012, issue and cited a concern based on a preliminary copy of the book. We publish herewith this revised review, as the problematic text was removed in the final, edited version.] (Picture book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-64437-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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A joyful celebration.

FAMILIES BELONG

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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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