GRANDMAS ARE LOVELY

Simple and sweet.

A rhyming picture-book ode to grandmothers.

Spreads with ample white space allow illustrations of 10 distinct animal species to pop. The opening page declares “Grandmas are lovely. They’re joyful and sweet. And when you are with them, each day is a treat.” Graphic designer Hegyes’ realistic watercolor artwork depicts each grandmother-grandchild animal pairing in their natural habitat. A bird, a lioness, and a polar bear gaze directly at the reader in an inviting manner. Text that reads “grandmas are chirpy / and cheery and bright” plays into feminine stereotypes; however, qualities like grandmothers’ courageousness, patience, and intelligence are highlighted. The close-up perspectives and focus on just one grandchild and their grandma per double-page spread create a sense of intimacy, and the uncluttered backgrounds amplify the joy shown throughout. Human caregivers may be inspired to spend more one-on-one time with their wards, and grandparents will favor this book for lap readings. It can also be used to help children reflect on a future or past visit with a grandparent. Infused with love, this book invites repeat readings for vocabulary development and family bonding. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Simple and sweet. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81653-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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

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 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

ANIMAL SHAPES

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Close Quickview