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Flipping flaps and survival of the fittest.

Ten colorful fish scurry to school, but a larger fish gobbles them up one by one.

Employing the same progressive flap style as in his previous work Ten on a Twig (2020), Cole moves counting practice from up in the air to under the sea. Ten fish swim in a straight line across the graduated pages, with the smallest at the right margin and the largest just to the right of the gutter. The first flap is flipped, and “GULP,” that large, pink fish is eaten by a shadowy gray predator, barely visible against the black background. Now there are only “9/ in a hurry / don’t want / to be late… // Purple goes next. / That leaves eight.” Both the number and color name in the text match the corresponding fish’s hue (also, the predator’s eye changes to match the color of the fish that has just been eaten). The fish stand out starkly against the inky black pages—and, alas, so do fingerprints. This clever concept book takes readers from 10 to one, when all that is left is a tiny red fish. That fish turns around, plucks up its courage, and shouts: “WE WON’T BE EATEN!” All of the fish in the larger fish’s belly hear the rallying cry and plot their (gaseous) escape. Similar in concept but varying in execution to Andy Mansfield and Thomas Flintham’s One Lonely Fish (2017), pair it with that earlier work for plenty of underwater chomping.

Flipping flaps and survival of the fittest. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72821-595-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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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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 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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