That small flaw aside, an open-and-shut winner.

CLAP, CLAP!

A truly toddler-friendly pairing of clapping and counting.

Portuguese illustrator Matoso (Where Do We Go When We Disappear?, 2013) cleverly leverages basic book design into an ongoing invitation to interactive responses, reminiscent of Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011). On each spread she artfully places one or more stylized figures—usually pink- but occasionally black-skinned people—so that bringing the covers together creates an action: an open-armed musician centered on the gutter, for instance, crashes cymbals together; two opposing faces kiss; passers-by exchange high-fives; a panini press closes on an arrangement of cheese and veggies. Each action comes with a numeral and the equivalent number of sound effects, from “Mwah Mwah” for the smoochers to an accordion player’s eight times repeated “Fomfim” and a weightlifter’s 12 labored “FFF”s. Actual hand clapping doesn’t come in until the final “15” offers a trio with palms held up and open. Younger children will immediately and delightedly key in to the percussive possibilities, though the volume has uniformly cut edges and rounded corners with no provision for keeping the same place inside while repeatedly clapping the covers together.

That small flaw aside, an open-and-shut winner. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-909263-82-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An inventive and extensive counting experience that will delight youngsters.

COUNTABLOCK

From the Block Books series

Shaped pages help youngsters count to 10 and beyond.

Two stylish double-page spreads are devoted to each number one through 10 and then, counting by 10s, to 100. In the first spread, the right-hand side is a page-high, die-cut numeral that spills off the page; to its left, a squirrel holds an acorn. With the turn of the page, there’s a transformation. “One acorn becomes… / one oak tree!” A portion of the object, animal or person being altered is visible through the die-cut openings; a sand castle peeks through the “0” of the number 10, for instance. Once the page is turned, the background from the previous left-hand page merges with the full double-page spread. As in the earlier Alphablock (2013), the helpfulness of these visual hints is uneven. After 10, 20 caterpillars become 20 butterflies, 30 baskets of cucumbers become 30 jars of pickles, and 40 eggs become 39 chicks and one dinosaur. The whole shebang ends with 100 puzzle pieces fitting together into “one big puzzle!” in the book’s only double gatefold. Peskimo’s muted color palette and droll cartoon style works well with the playful concept. The same worries about the binding that arose with Alphablock are an issue here, but the conceit will likely appeal to older children anyway.

An inventive and extensive counting experience that will delight youngsters. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1374-3

Page Count: 94

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more