DOWN BY THE POND

A fox after chickens is foiled by the other barnyard animals in this cheerful tale, set among the vivid greens and rolling hills of the English countryside. The rhyming text tells how ``A red fox crept across the yard,/His black-tipped tail was twitching hard,/In the farmyard, down by the pond.'' One by one the other animals take note of the intruder's presence until the collie dog bolts after the fox and everyone else follows. They ``meow!'' ``yowl!'' ``oink!'' ``woof!'' ``moo!'' and ``cluck!'' until the cow butts the interloper into the pond. Those on land congratulate themselves on their bravery. The elements of repetition and animal noises in the chant will appeal to children and make them ready participants in the hullaballoo, while the bright gouache paintings and the dramatically cropped paper of the center pages add interest. Children may have a little trouble discerning the action in one or two scenes that at first appear to be double-page spreads, but need to be distinguished as separate pictures. Barring that quibble, the illustrations project well for story hours or bedtime sharing. (Picture book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-689-80205-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1995

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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LITTLE QUACK

The odyssey of ducklings venturing forth from their comfortable nests into the big world resonates with children and has been a well-traveled subject of many works geared toward young readers. Thompson’s (Mouse’s First Valentine, 2002, etc.) latest effort will certainly appeal to youngsters despite its lack of originality. Mama Duck is coaxing her five hesitant ducklings (Widdle, Waddle, Piddle, Puddle, and Little Quack) into the water one at a time. A “quack-u-lator” at the bottom of the pages adds an interesting mathematical element, helping children count along as ducklings jump into the pond. Mama encourages each nervous duckling to “paddle on the water with me . . . you can do it . . . I know you can.” Overcoming their initial fright, the first four ducklings “splish, splash, sploosh, and splosh” happily into the water. The simple tale’s climax occurs when Little Quack wavers at the water’s edge. “Could he do it? Did he dare?” Not to spoil the ending, but suffice it to say all five ducklings swim off “proud as can be.” In his debut effort, Anderson’s bright and colorful illustrations are lively and captivating. The five adorable ducklings embark on this rite of passage sporting unique looks ranging from Mohawk-type head feathers to orange spots and flowered hair adornments. A pleasant enough take on an old standby. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-84723-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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