A winning reminder that sometimes the little guy comes out on top.

MOUSE IS SMALL

Size isn’t everything!

This well-designed board book is a short read that offers big entertainment for little readers. A series of endearing critters of sequentially increasing dimension, presented on pages of likewise increasing proportion, introduce the concept of relative size. Murphy’s simple and easily grasped line drawings have a degree of charm and personality well in excess of their sparse detail. Mouse and friends, Tortoise, Pelican, Zebra, Elephant, and Spider, inhabit brightly colored, monochromatic two-page spreads, each die-cut page on the right slightly larger than the page that preceded it. The pages are thick, very stiff, and easy for even rough little hands to grip and turn without tearing. The text is basic, easily assimilated, and well-matched to the illustrations. The flip-flap gimmick of graduated page size should encourage toddlers to enjoy this book both with their caregivers and independently. The parade of ever larger animals reaches an unexpected conclusion with an amusing reminder that bigger isn’t always better. This volume will be a quick read at bedtime, but it has the potential to become a real favorite of aspiring young readers and page-turners, and it should stand up well to significant abuse from typical toddlers.

A winning reminder that sometimes the little guy comes out on top. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9059-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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