Just right for family play, while honoring the tradition of passing these rhymes to future generations. (Picture...

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MARC BROWN'S PLAYTIME RHYMES

A TREASURY FOR FAMILIES TO LEARN AND PLAY TOGETHER

Twenty of Brown’s favorite finger rhymes, complete with tiny pictograms to demonstrate motions and actions for each phrase.

Compiled from Brown’s previous collections (Finger Rhymes, 1980; Hand Rhymes, 1985, etc.), all of the rhymes are classics. The words themselves will take adult readers back to childhood, and candy-striped endpapers and cozy illustrations painted on wooden panels give the whole package a decidedly old-fashioned warmth. Familiar rhymes such as “I’m a Little Teapot” and “The Wheels on the Bus” are mixed in with the simple (literally, only using one hand) “Whoops! Johnny” and “Sleepy Fingers.” As with all folklore, there are many versions of these rhymes. Some individual words or actions may be different than remembered, but nostalgia will carry readers through. The animated gestures next to each line are relatively easy to imitate and will send hands whirling, fingers fluttering, and arms stretched out wide. Brown created all new illustrations for this work, but alas, some are only slightly re-imagined from his previous collections. Parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians will surely appreciate having these favorites in one treasury, but an additional spark would have been welcome.

Just right for family play, while honoring the tradition of passing these rhymes to future generations. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-20735-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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A sprightly and charming modern take on a traditional rhyme.

THE THREE LITTLE KITTENS

This adaptation of a traditional English nursery rhyme features a contemporary setting, dialogue, and a small twist.

Three anthropomorphized kittens wearing conspicuous, colorful mittens (but no other clothing) are seen outside a cozy suburban house, skateboarding, playing ball, and skipping rope. A sweet scent wafts from an open window, through which a smiling cat in a dotted apron can be seen removing a pie from the oven. In their race to the door the kittens lose their mittens, of course, and the story unfolds from there. In some cases, the rhymes appear in dialogue balloons, at other times as part of the main text, both of which also include additional, original lines. Unexpected interjections add humor, as when the kittens react to the mess they’ve made by eating blueberry pie while wearing mittens: “ ‘Ooops!’ ‘Eeew!’ ‘Gross!’ ” Created with pencil, watercolor, and gouache, McClintock’s feline portraits pack plenty of personality. Big-footed and slightly round-bellied, the variously colored kittens have big eyes and sweet smiles. Mother, meanwhile, is slim and sleek, with extremely expressive whiskers. The setting is simply presented, limited to the outside of the house, inside the kitchen, and at the table. At times the characters appear against blank, softly colored backgrounds. Alternating double-page spreads, single pages, and occasional panels add interest and move the action along smoothly. Sharp-eyed listeners may notice an additional character whose presence is acknowledged in the cheerful conclusion.

A sprightly and charming modern take on a traditional rhyme. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-12587-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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