Not a substitute for but a possible successor to the plethora of more conventional—but safer—board-book and pop-up galleries.


From the Magnetology series

Over 40 baby animals (plus a few trees) attach magnetically to desert, rain forest, savanna, or arctic scenes.

To help match the baby animals to their characteristic habitats, adult versions of each painted, die-cut creature pose in the simply rendered illustrations. However, natural history is not this import’s strong suit. There is a visual key at the end, but along with a few brief nature notes (“In the desert, many animals can survive on very little water”), only one or two creatures are identified on each spread. Moreover, neither the two tropical butterflies nor any of the flora, including three cutout trees, get a label or mention; two “baby” tropical frogs are just small adults; and the “Desert” includes saguaros and coconut palms in the same scene. The warning on the rear cover should be taken seriously, as many of the small, irregular pieces are definite choking hazards. They’ll also be easy to lose, though they are magnetized enough to stay in place through moderate shocks or when the volume is closed, and they can be stored in an attached pouch when they’re loose. Parents or teachers who prefer to stay away from licensed commercial characters may be drawn to this, and the pieces can also be used independently on any magnetic surface.

Not a substitute for but a possible successor to the plethora of more conventional—but safer—board-book and pop-up galleries. (Novelty. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2016

ISBN: 979-1-02760-193-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Too many bugs, figuratively.


Lucy, “the youngest member of a family of fireflies,” must overcome an irrational, moon-induced anxiety in order to leave her family tree trunk and glow.

The first six pages pull readers into a lush, beautiful world of nighttime: “When the sun has set, silence falls over the Big Forest, and all of the nighttime animals wake up.” Mixed media provide an enchanting forest background, with stylized flora and fauna eventually illuminated by a large, benign moon, because the night “doesn’t like to catch them by surprise.” Turning the page catches readers by surprise, though: the family of fireflies is decidedly comical and silly-looking. Similarly, the text moves from a lulling, magical cadence to a distinct shift in mood as the bugs ready themselves for their foray into the night: “They wave their bottoms in the air, wiggle their feelers, take a deep, deep breath, and sing, ‘Here we go, it’s time to glow!’ ” It’s an acceptable change, but more unevenness follows. Lucy’s excitement about finally joining the other bugs turns to “sobbing” two nights in a row. Instead of directly linking her behavior to understandable reactions of children to newness, the text undermines itself by making Lucy’s parents’ sweet reassurances impotent and using the grandmother’s scientific explanation of moonlight as an unnecessary metaphor. Further detracting from the story, the text becomes ever denser and more complex over the book’s short span.

Too many bugs, figuratively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-84-16147-00-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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