Is it cute? Sure. Does it tell a story? Definitely not.

READ REVIEW

MAGICAL HORSES

Four mini board books about magical horses fit inside one larger board book with playscape pages.

Flicker, Chestnut, Blizzard, and Cloud are four magical horses, each with their own mini board-book featurette. The four books—roughly 3 inches square, with die-cut shaping—fit inside a larger board book that has three play scenes with roughly figure-eight tracks. The idea is that the mini books (with a front and back cover that is just the image of each horse) double as manipulatives that can stomp and trot along the paths around the castle, farm, or winter scenes in the larger book. The horse books have short, declarative statements about each horse’s abilities and character traits: “Cloud is kind”; “Chestnut trots through new paths.” There is no story, no interaction among the horses, nothing imaginative, and it’s unclear what the horses even do that is “magical,” excepting Cloud’s ability to fly. Mytinger’s illustrations give some personality to each of the horses, with such details as tiny flowers in Blizzard’s mane or woodland creatures in Chestnut’s story, but they’re not enough to flesh out their characters. Because the entire middle section of the large book is a storage container for the mini books, the play scenes feature sparse illustrations. This one is firmly more toy than book. Not a lot of substance.

Is it cute? Sure. Does it tell a story? Definitely not. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6547-9

Page Count: 5

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride.

IT'S RAMADAN, CURIOUS GEORGE

For one special month, George accompanies a young friend through fasts, feasts, and good works at the mosque.

Such headers as “Waiting for Sunset” and “Sharing with Others,” along with glimpses of stars and crescents in the background and a “Ramadan Mubarak” banner, offer oblique references to some basic themes and symbols, but Ramadan’s purpose, many of its practices, and even the word “Muslim” go unmentioned in this tabbed board book. Khan’s rhyme lumbers along (“George can’t wait for tomorrow, / When the month of Ramadan will start. / It’s a special time of year for his friends, / And George is going to take part!”). Meanwhile, Young plugs George and the Man in the Yellow Hat into scenes with Kareem, his father, and his hijab-wearing mother. (Kareem and his dad appear to be black; his mother is lighter-skinned.) They make cookies, gather with friends at sunset to break their daily fast and pray (offstage), then enjoy “Kabobs, curry, veggies, and rice” with chocolate-dipped bananas for dessert. At the mosque, George helps Kareem make food baskets and tries to pass out the racked shoes until an imam gently stops him. Finally, beneath a thin crescent moon at month’s end, George gets a new vest (and the Man a yellow fez) for the celebration of Eid.

A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-65226-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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