THERE'S A SQUARE

From Serfozo (Joe Joe, 1993, etc.), an introduction to the square, circle, triangle, rectangle, oval, and diamond. Each one is identified and defined in simple catchy rhymes—bouncy enough to be read aloud—and copiously illustrated with accompanying shapes of all sizes and textures. Cut-paper collages feature bright, anthropomorphized shapes (with very expressive faces) against landscapes suitable for the featured shape. The book is conceived as an entertaining lesson, and concludes with a carefully designed review that makes sense of shapes in an easy and imaginative way. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-590-54426-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1996

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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF

In this entry in the Growing Tree series, the publisher copyrights the text, while Carpenter provides illustrations for the story; here, the three billy goats named Gruff play on a nasty troll’s greed to get where the grass is greenest. Logic has never been the long suit of this tale: Instead of letting the two smaller billy goats be terrorized by the mean and ugly troll, children wonder, why doesn’t the biggest billy goat step in sooner? It’s still a good introduction to comparatives, and the repetitiveness of the story invites participation. The artwork matches the story: The characters are suitably menacing, quivering, or stalwart, and the perspectives allow readers to be right there in the thick of the action. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-694-01033-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

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