Engaging art and attention to cadence and rhythm should make for a read-aloud winner.

A HOP IS UP

A dog and child walk around their neighborhood.

An adorable little white pup with black spots and a brownish patch over its eye nearly springs off the cover and into readers’ laps, setting the tone for the story within. The title page showcases the eager canine, leash in mouth, while the copyright and dedication spread feature the sprightly pooch already leaping along the sidewalk, its child trailing behind. Richmond’s ink, watercolor, and digital art creates a homey city with soft-colored brownstones, storefronts, and people of varying shades. The first page of text echoes the title, declaring, “a hop is up,” while the illustration shows the little white child holding the leash as the excitable canine hops on a gate. Observant readers will spy the reason for the dog’s hop, which becomes readily apparent in the next spread. Bicyclists, dancers, and others offer examples of direction, movement, and motion. Richmond highlights exemplifying characters with bold colors, favoring a more muted palette for background people and places. The charming, minimalist ball of furry energy is adorable in both form and exuberance (indeed, those paws rarely touch the ground!). A child of color protagonist would have been nice, but there are plenty of diverse skin tones in the supporting cast.

Engaging art and attention to cadence and rhythm should make for a read-aloud winner. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61963-390-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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There is always room in the Easter basket for a counting book, and many readers may appreciate having another simple,...

TEN EASTER EGGS

A cheerful brown bunny hiding behind the edges of an Easter basket looks just as surprised as young children will be to find the chicks revealed as each egg “hatches.”

With help from a reading partner, young children are encouraged to count down the eggs as they disappear with each page turn. Alternatively, they can count up as the chicks are revealed. A simple phrase at the top of each right-hand page states the number of eggs in the basket. The line at the bottom (half of a rhyming couplet) tells how many chicks readers should look for. The numbers are spelled out, requiring young children to recognize the word instead of the more familiar numeral. On the left-hand page, the spaces previously occupied by an egg begin to fill with meadow plants and critters, eventually becoming a scene as busy and cheerful as a greeting card. This book begs to be touched. Each egg is made of shaped plastic that protrudes through die-cut holes on the verso; they can be pressed but seem to be securely anchored. The pastel chicks are lightly flocked, providing an additional tactile experience. Although the pages are thicker than paper, young fingers may find the holes a convenient way to grip (and possibly tear) the pages.

There is always room in the Easter basket for a counting book, and many readers may appreciate having another simple, nonreligious holiday book. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-74730-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books

BIG FISH LITTLE FISH

From the My Little World series

A mix of marine-life fact and fiction introduces opposites.

With its iconic shape, the eye-catching cover cutout of a bright-orange fish is instantly appealing. Layered die cuts of decreasing size provide texture and handholds for little fingers and form the bodies of varying species of fish. Information about fish habits and habitats is crammed into wordy rhymes with the opposing terms in boldface, but the accuracy of those facts is debatable. Though it’s fair to call the eel “long and very wiggly,” contrasting it with a generic, short yellow fish that’s a rhyme-forced “giggly” introduces a jarring anthropomorphism. In fact, stereotypical human emotions or motivations are attributed to the fish on almost every page. On another page, the slow fish (the only fish not painted with a smile) says, “Even with a big head start, I knew I'd finish last”—a distressingly defeatist message in an otherwise cheery board book. Inexplicably, the final spread depicts all the fish in party hats—turning it into a birthday book. While this may extend its use in day cares, it doesn't help young children learn opposites.

A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58925-215-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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