IN OUR TREE

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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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

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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