A lively and lovely update


Ducks cavort in this spirited board-book adaptation of Grahame’s famous poem from The Wind in the Willows.

“Ducks are a-dabbling, / Up tails all!” In the poem, ducks are described joyously feeding in their pond, and this cheery rendition preserves the spirit and the best read-aloud elements of the original. Both the strong rhythm and animated descriptors remain, but a few lines get a makeover to simplify the language for a U.S. audience. Where the original reads, “Slushy green undergrowth / Where the roaches swim,” this edition scraps the almost-certain-to-confuse “roaches” in favor of “where the fishies swim.” Some other uncommon words, such as “larder” and “swifts,” are also changed, and their replacements feel quite natural within the original cadence. The poem’s musicality makes it an excellent choice to share with large groups, as does the sturdy, oversized trim. Playful illustrations in inviting shades of aqua, green, and tan make the poem additionally accessible, with sprawling double-page spreads that look like a marshy wonderland with dragonflies flitting, ducklings waddling, and pink-cheeked frogs hopping. Some of the lively digital illustrations present deeply layered underwater scenes, with close-ups of ducks diving amid bubbles, sparkling white highlights, and shadowy fishes, while equally attractive minimalist land scenes allow the richly colored birds to strut and shine, especially those hunter-green mallard drakes.

A lively and lovely update . (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-486713-86-8

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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


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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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.


One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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