Consider this an unessential novelty unless sturdy books with nonanimal sounds are sought.

I LOVE MUSIC

MY FIRST SOUND BOOK

Recorder, piano, violin, guitars, drums, and xylophone are played by a pig, elephant, cat, zebras, bears, and mice respectively, while chips embedded in each page play an appropriate snippet of music.

Toddlers and most of their parents won't easily recognize all the tunes. The violin snippet is attributed to Brahms; the piano tune is an obscure section of Mozart's “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”; music for the xylophone and drums are credited to Gallimard Jeunesse, the original French publisher. The book demands some significant leaps of faith. How exactly an elephant can sit at a piano and press the keys isn't at all clear, for instance. All the action takes place in a circus setting, though the tunes are not normally associated with circus acts, nor will toddlers recognize the venue from the illustrations. The cartoonish animals bear little resemblance to any real animal, and the fiddle-playing cat is identifiable only through the text. None of this is likely to bother toddlers, who will quickly find the sound buttons embedded in each board page and delight in pressing them repeatedly to charm (or annoy) their adult companions—who will barely have time to read the brief text before their children are ready to move on to the next noise.

Consider this an unessential novelty unless sturdy books with nonanimal sounds are sought. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-338-03261-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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This will have readers putting on their dancing shoes to do the “cha cha cha” with their dino-babies

DINOSAUR DANCE!

It's not the first time dinosaurs have been featured in a clever Boynton board book. It seems she—and we—can't get enough.

As her fans know, Boynton has a sly wit that respects the intelligence of her young fans and amuses the adults asked to “read it again.” In this book she introduces nine dinosaurs, each of which dances in a way that seems totally appropriate for that particular species. “The blue Stegosaurus goes SHIMMY SHIMMY SHAKE. / The red Brontosaurus goes QUIVERY QUAKE.” Drawing on her experience as a children’s musician, she writes a text that trips along like a song with rhymes that make sense but don't intrude. The illustrations, typical Boynton, reflect her greeting-card background. They are cartoonish but manage to capture the unique personality of each creature. The unnamed dinosaur narrator looks genuinely distraught at not being able to name the “tiny little dino” that “goes DEEDLY DEE.” Spoiler alert: the tiny little dinosaur is probably Compsognathus and would be about the size of a small chicken. Young dinophiles would be impressed if the dinosaurologists in their lives could supply that factoid, but alas, they will have to look it up.

This will have readers putting on their dancing shoes to do the “cha cha cha” with their dino-babies . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8099-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Take it, or leave it.

THE ITSY BITSY SNOWMAN

A wintertime story that can be sung to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

The itsy bitsy snowman and his friends are playing in the snow. They climb up a snowy hill, jump on a sled, slide fast, and zip past children skating on ice. Then, though the text tells readers that he “dodged a snowball fight,” his head becomes separated from his body. Not to worry, “out came his friends / to lend a happy hand.” In the last spread the itsy bitsy snowman stands with his mom, dad, and friends, “And everything was perfect / in his winter wonderland.” The story, intended to be read to the tune of the beloved nursery rhyme, doesn’t always quite fit the template, as in: “The itsy bitsy snowman / climbed up the snowy hill. // He jumped on a sled / and slid fast…what a thrill!” For no obvious reason, on every page one word is printed in a different color from the rest of the text. Rescek’s illustrations are bright, cheery, and cartoonlike, with an appropriate wintry pale blue as the dominant color. Though sweet and cute, there is nothing particularly fresh or new here.

Take it, or leave it. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4837-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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