Maisy and friends are always a delight.

MAISY GOES TO A SHOW

From the Maisy First Experiences series

Maisy and her friends attend a live theater performance and have a wonderful time.

Part of the Maisy First Experiences series, this outing finds the group with tickets, presumably purchased by their grown-ups, to see Flora Fantastica starring in Funny Feathers.The iconic, wildly popular mouse and her animal friends show their tickets, get programs, and find their front-row seats. Along with the rest of the audience, they get very quiet for the raising of the curtain. The show is a musical tale of jungle animals heading for the big city. Stagehands, here called special helpers, take away the jungle set and bring on the city. The curtain comes down for intermission, a bathroom break for Maisy and Cyril, and snack time for Charley and Tallulah. The bell rings, and it’s time for the second act. At the end there are cheers and a standing ovation. The friends sing as they head home from a wonderful adventure. Cousins includes all the essential elements and appropriate new vocabulary and never allows the enthusiasm to wane. As in previous books in this series, a new experience is treated in a nonthreatening, encouraging tone for very young readers who might be excited but a bit apprehensive about a special event. The signature gouache illustrations in the brightest of hues are familiar and appealing.

Maisy and friends are always a delight. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0463-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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