Skip this for toddlers still learning about Easter activities and go with Aly Fronis and Sanja Rescek’s This Little Bunny...

TUCKER DIGS EASTER!

Tucker the lively white terrier returns in his fourth holiday board book (Gobble, Gobble, Tucker, 2014, etc.).

This time he uses his digging skills to help the Easter Bunny hide Easter eggs, wearing a pair of ears and a cotton ball tail as a disguise. Unfortunately, he hides them so well the kids can’t find them, and so he must help them by digging out all the Easter eggs again. Children involved in the egg hunt have dark as well as light skin tones and hair color. McGuirk’s simple gouache cartoon illustrations use child-friendly black outlines and vibrant colors; however, the Easter Bunny has the exact same expression throughout the book, making it difficult to guess whether he is happy or upset. Despite the board-book format, slight story, and childish illustrations, this offering will work best with kids older than toddlers, as it demands familiarity with the concept of Easter eggs and Easter egg hunts.

Skip this for toddlers still learning about Easter activities and go with Aly Fronis and Sanja Rescek’s This Little Bunny (2016) instead. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8536-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.

FIVE BLACK CATS

A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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