ALL ABOARD FOR DREAMLAND!

“All aboard for Dreamland!” is the clarion call of this rhythmic bedtime read-aloud that opens with a giant megaphone blaring out a wavy set of railroad tracks. Train purists, though, will have to use their imaginations, as the first vehicle on the track is a white unicorn on wheels, transporting a motley crew of beaming, big-nosed passengers. The magical mystery train transmogrifies next into a series of wheeled buildings: “Full steam ahead to Wiggletown! / We zoom down Zig Zag Hill, / winding ’round and upside down / till no one can sit still.” As the train chugs through the land of Strrrretch (“Chugga-chugga chuckle!”), a taffy-like pink elephant tickles its ears with its toes. As in many bedtime stories, the illustrations optimistically invoke the power of suggestion; the characters get sleepy and close their eyes as the train heads into “the drowsy town of Yawwwwwn.” Valério’s brightly colored, stylized paintings, textured with visible brushstrokes and the occasional cutout piece of graph paper, are just jaunty enough to fuel this giddy trip to Dreamland. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 3, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6127-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Especially for fans of big trucks and machinery.

ORANGE EXCAVATOR

When hard work needs to get done, who’re you gonna call?

Young construction-vehicle mavens will enjoy this fun romp that takes them through a cheery bright-orange excavator’s typical workday: crushing garbage and loading it into a dump truck; helping with the installation of a new water pipe after the old one broke and spewed water through a city street; and digging a deep, wide hole in which to plant the mayor’s new tree. Through all these tough, painstaking tasks, the excavator “wears” an ever present smiling face, headlights standing in for large, bright eyes. Jaunty verses that mostly read and scan well narrate the brisk proceedings, and listeners are likely to want to chime in whenever the excavator’s assistance is called for in refrains such as “We need you, Orange Excavator!”—set in orange type, of course. The unfamiliar word excavator in itself should excite little ones because of its length, juicy mouth feel, and aural appeal. Kids will also appreciate the lively, though generic, illustrations; enhancing visual interest are several words throughout set in larger, colored capitals. The excavator’s driver is brown-skinned; other workers and passersby are diverse in skin tone and age. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Especially for fans of big trucks and machinery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-20240-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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