A good choice for young transportation lovers.

READ REVIEW

YELLOW COPTER

A rhyming picture book about a yellow rescue helicopter geared toward toddlers.

Simple, onomatopoeic text and bright illustrations tell the story of a new, yellow rescue helicopter that receives its first assignment. The smiling, friendly-looking rescue copter is rendered in bold colors that contrast nicely with the gray-blue background. The unencumbered art style helps make the various parts of a helicopter easily identifiable. Some double-page spreads focus on the names of the helicopter parts (rotors, tail boom, skids, etc.), which should appeal to readers who are interested in mechanical transportation. The plot concerns a teacher who is stuck at the top of a Ferris wheel and needs saving. While both the group of ethnically diverse students watching from the ground and the teacher up on the wheel look distressed, they do not look afraid, and the tone is one of hope, which should assuage anxious readers. Whenever the words “yellow copter” appear in the text, they are always printed in yellow, which makes sense and will help teach color association, but other words arbitrarily printed in colored type may confuse young readers. The interpretation of the sound (“whup, whup, whup”) helicopters make—as well as other sounds—should make for a bouncy read-aloud.

A good choice for young transportation lovers. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 19, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-451-46991-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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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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A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc.

SANTA AND THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

Not quite the Polar Express….

Sobel’s rhyming text fails to deliver a clear premise for the eponymous goodnight train’s Christmas Eve progress through the pages, and Huliska-Beith’s acrylic paintings embellished with fabric and paper collage don’t clarify the storytelling. At the start of the picture book, a bevy of anthropomorphic animals decorates a rather rickety-looking engine, and then human children gather around and pile into train cars that look like beds and cribs. The train follows a track, seemingly in pursuit of Santa’s sleigh, but to what end isn’t clear. They travel “through a town of gingerbread” and through the woods to find the sleigh blocking the tracks and the reindeer snoozing while, mystifyingly, Santa counts some sheep. Perching the sleigh on the train’s cowcatcher, they all proceed to the North Pole, where the “elves all cheer. / Santa’s here until next year!” But then the goodnight train just…leaves, “heading home on Christmas Eve.” Was this a dream? It definitely wasn’t a story with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. Santa’s face is never seen; the human children and elves are diverse.

A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-61840-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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