While an audience of young vehicle aficionados or avid skaters might be attracted, this is a disappointing and poorly...

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I AM A ZAMBONI MACHINE

Learn how Zambonis clean ice in this awkwardly shaped book.

In the voice of the Zamboni, dull pronouncements about each step of the ice-cleaning process give readers a rudimentary but adequate overview of how the vehicle works. The book is cut into the shape of a Zamboni machine (and driver), but the unusual format adds nothing of substance and even detracts from the story. Each page turn removes a section of the Zamboni, but the image under the cutaway doesn’t necessarily match, creating pages with two confusingly juxtaposed scenes. Though the pages are thick, they are prone to fraying, and the edges remain sharp and jab fingers painfully, especially around the severe cuts defining the driver’s face. The pen-and-ink–style digital art is underwhelming, and attempts to make the art feel lively fall flat. A puppy sitting next to the driver is far too rabbitlike, and the American flag found on every page looks odd, as if a poor quality sticker were applied over the images. There’s a single hockey player of color; the driver and crowds are white.

While an audience of young vehicle aficionados or avid skaters might be attracted, this is a disappointing and poorly designed book . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-27773-9

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A playful excursion for young mariners.

GO, BOATS, GO!

From the In Motion series

A cavalcade of boats both realistic and whimsical.

“Old boats. New boats. / One-or-two boats. // Tall boats. Small boats. / Heave-and-haul boats.” So begins Boswell’s playful, rhythmic, and compact text. Mostov’s illustrations, which are graphically simple and pleasingly two-dimensional in dark and bold colors, depict a wide range of floating apparatuses, mostly in profile. There are human-powered boats, such as kayaks, a dinghy, and pedal-powered boats, and nature- and machine-powered vehicles, such as a few types of sailboats, submarines, a motorboat, and an airboat. As the text goes on, they grow quite fanciful and include a sailboat carried aloft by balloons and sea-horse– and flamingo-shaped vessels. Seemingly in order to cram in as many as possible, some of the pages cut the boats off in unsatisfying ways, and boat-obsessed toddlers may be disappointed they don’t see a full image of a shipwreck or a container ship. Although there’s a clichéd white, bearded sea captain with a bird on the shoulder, a diverse group of folks pilot these crafts and include multiracial crews on several boats and a brown-skinned family clad in modern gear and paddling a traditional-looking canoe.

A playful excursion for young mariners. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63217-268-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A gentle underwater excursion.

OCEAN LIFE

From the Hello World! series

An ocean-themed entry in the Hello World series.

A white youngster with long hair sporting a swim mask encourages little ones to “Dive in and take a look!” at ocean life. Each double-page spread presents a different marine animal, including whales, dolphins, sharks, an octopus, a crab and a lobster, sea turtles, fish, and jellyfish. Two or three conversationally conveyed facts of interest are included per double-page spread, one of which is usually in a smaller type and marked with an asterisk for obscure reasons. “What’s that? It’s a sea horse? It can quickly change colors to blend with the background, helping it hide from enemies,” reads the larger text in one representative spread, while the text in the smaller font reads, “A sea horse father carries eggs in a pouch until they are ready to hatch.” A trio of children, all of whom have light complexions, build a sand castle on the beach and collect shells to highlight the wide variety of the latter that can be found. McDonald’s jewel-toned art has the look of watercolor and is appropriately watery and accessible. The final pages allow children to reflect on their favorite ocean animal as the art reviews all the creatures depicted.

A gentle underwater excursion. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-57877-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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