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

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.


One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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