While it’s nothing out of the ordinary, toddlers will gravitate to all the bells and whistles in this offering.

NOISY FIRST WORDS

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Little fingers can press buttons to hear various sounds, touch tactile elements, and see photos of everyday objects.

Each double-page spread highlights a different category of noisemaker, including animals, vehicles, and foodstuffs. The recto features a large photo of an animal or object that includes an embedded fabric swatch. When pressed, a button under the fabric activates a battery-operated sound chip safely screwed into the back of the book. Little digits have to hit the button just right to activate the noisemaker and may require adult help. On the toy-themed page, an image of a drum includes a vinyl patch, and when pressed, an adult voice says the word “drum” followed by a recording of a drum being played. The verso features brightly colored panels with clear, captioned photos of blocks, a white doll, a kite, and such. The text is standard fare, focusing on encouraging youngsters to interact with the book: “Touch the apple to hear it crunch!” Some of the tactile elements are more satisfying than others; the mewing kitten’s fur is nice and soft, but the duck’s feathers are difficult to “ruffle” as the text prompts. The book ends with a “Bedtime” spread complete with moon, pajamas, clock, and a teddy bear to touch, make snore, and play a music-box lullaby.

While it’s nothing out of the ordinary, toddlers will gravitate to all the bells and whistles in this offering. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-680105-41-4

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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