Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

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Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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A little girl finds brightly colored animals playing in a jungle tree in this peek-through-the-hole board book.

A pale-skinned girl in a green dress spies something blue as she leaves her tree swing. “What could it be?” The work’s round hole reveals a few blue morpho butterflies, and a page turn shows a swarm of them fluttering around the happy girl. As she returns to her swing, she spots something red. Through the hole, a red bird (a scarlet macaw) is clearly visible, but the page turn reveals four of them, one of which has landed on the girl’s arm. Now with butterflies and macaws swinging with her, the girl notices two green frogs, and several green amphibians join their game, followed by “orange monkeys” and “brown kitties” (presumably black jaguar cubs, given that all the other animals in the book are South American). But when the girl picks up one of the cubs (“Play with me!”), the mother jaguar gives a loud roar and the swing breaks. The girl looks unafraid, however, and despite climbing vines to avoid further angering the adult jaguar, she and her animal friends all end up high in the tree branches as a single community. The South American setting lends itself well to illustrator Vigovszky’s gorgeous colors and the concept-book aspect of Craig’s (Oh So Quiet, 2016, etc.) rhyming text. But presenting most of the animals at ground level rather than in the canopy or higher may misrepresent rain forest ecosystems to the youngest readers. That quibble aside, the peeking holes should delight lap readers, especially toddlers, who are sure to love picking out the colors and the animals with their parents. The girl’s expressions are full of sheer fun, and her smiles are infectious. Craig’s rhymes are as rhythmic and well-designed as ever, repeating phrases to help youngsters begin to read or chime in with parents. The vocabulary proves very accessible, with the author’s choices ideal for learning to match colors and animals. A clever tale full of vibrant rain forest creatures that toddlers should certainly enjoy.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9967212-3-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlbop Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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