A lively and clever volume about the importance of tackling new activities; perfect for toddlers who are ready for a little...

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Try! Try! Try!

An energetic boy tells his animal friends that they already know how to dance in this board book for very young readers by Craig (In Our Tree, 2016, etc.).

A young boy in a cave with a flashlight in the cartoonish illustration by Tan announces that bears, like the gigantic brown one he stands next to, “love to roar!” The boy does, too, and soon the two (the child only a quarter of the beast’s size) roar together like best friends. The sound effects of the bellowing are written in a decorative font that spreads wide on the page around the pair. The boy also likes to fly with candy-colored pastel birds; the sound of their wings flapping as they carry him through the air displays that same oversized font. Next the boy joins his bunny pals to hop on the grass and his otter friends to play “slippity-slide” in their watery home. But when the muddy boy invites the animals to dance with him, they decline, embarrassed at their lack of ability (“Oh no! We can’t dance! / say my friends all-a-giggle”). Nonsense! The boy explains that if they can flap, wiggle, roar, hop, or slide, they can dance, too. All it takes is a little effort, as the book’s title emphatically declares. Soon, the animals are all vigorously dancing, using one another’s moves: the bear flaps and the squirrel (wearing an amusing “Dance Baby” T-shirt) roars. The cheerful volume offers suitable vocabulary for newly independent readers just gaining confidence. And lap readers impatient with longer books should find the pacing a joy. The lush illustrations remain a bit wiggly—on the cover, the boy’s limbs look a bit like wet noodles—but they delightfully fit the tone of the exuberant work. Readers should be encouraged by the message that they can apply the skills they love and are proficient at to pursuits they may be nervous about trying.

A lively and clever volume about the importance of tackling new activities; perfect for toddlers who are ready for a little plot with their pictures and for children who can proudly read aloud to a younger sibling.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9967212-4-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlbop Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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