A mixed bag.



Standard concepts, tabs to turn, and perennially smiling animal characters are the salient features of this book and its companions.

Hogan's greeting-card background is evident in these peppy titles, but some of her choices may give readers pause. On the page that asks, “What can you hear at home?” there is no evidence of human life. Instead, the brightly hued illustration shows a bird, a cat, and a dog—obviously house pets, but why no people? On a page featuring town noises, the sole woman simply drives a car, while two men drive a train and work on a road. The same unfortunate stereotype creeps into Dinosaur Big, Dinosaur Small. “Daddy lion is loud,” while opposite him, a seraphically smiling “Mommy lion is quiet.” The more successful Early Birds titles are Rainbow Zoo, about colors, and 123 Under the Sea, about counting. These straightforward concepts benefit from the unnuanced treatment. The tabs are closely related to the actual page content, displaying either an iconic image or, in the case of 123 Under the Sea, a large numeral. Hagen's stylized designs have no hint of colors actually seen in nature—pink fish with kissy mouths, a smiley blue hippo and elephant. The same lion, monkey, dinosaur, and frog show up in several of the titles.

A mixed bag. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0183-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A happily multisensory exploration.


From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations.


Little bunnies prepare for the definitive bunny holiday.

Bunnies prepare for Easter in this board book. In verse set to the cadence of “This Little Piggy,” bunnies go to market, bake a cake, paint eggs, weave a basket, and do all sorts of other things to get ready for Easter. Rescek’s illustrations take full advantage of spring’s color palette, employing purples, pinks, oranges, and blues and incorporating striped and spotted ovals evoking Easter eggs. Little readers learning about the Easter Bunny for the first time will be delighted to get a peek at the process bunnies may go through to prepare for Easter and how it mirrors activities they perform with their parents.

This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0105-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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