Like food-truck fare, it goes down easily.

FRANKIE'S FOOD TRUCK

Frankie’s food truck makes the rounds every day of the week, mixing gastronomy with geometry in this interactive guide to the shapes of things to eat.

This volume serves up a tasty variety of vocabulary, including the days of the week, basic shapes, and various foodstuffs that young readers and their caregivers are invited to identify. Frankie is an undeniably cute kitten with an oversized head and a smile to match. He parks his food truck in the same spot every day of the week; the cityscape in the background never changes. The one thing that is dramatically different from day to day is the menu, organized around daily geometric themes: “Today is Monday, when Frankie serves squares.” This is not a jab at Frankie’s patrons; it describes his fare, served on the facing page on four empty-looking plates with square-shaped, flapped panels that open to reveal several delicious, square-shaped foods: waffles, toast, ravioli, and cheese. Triangles are Tuesday’s order of the day; three triangular flaps reveal slices of pizza, pie, and watermelon. A circular flap hides a doughnut; the text inside the flap reads, “Nope! No circles till tomorrow!” Frankie himself is rendered differently in each picture, but only slightly so; finding the differences from picture to picture may add an element of fun.

Like food-truck fare, it goes down easily. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0687-6

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Candlewick Entertainment

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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