Despite (or perhaps because of) the odd bits, this book successfully celebrates the private, gleeful, imaginative world of...

Short poems and accompanying illustrations make up this word-format poetry anthology for little ones.

Thirty-five poems run the gamut from high-spirited wordplay for very young listeners (“Kippy-cuppy / Kippy-cuppy / Cup, cup, cup”) to relatively more complex ideas (“I’m a very, very, very slow train / And I’m very, very late again”). Some poems validate the strong emotions all children feel at some time, such as “I Don’t Want,” “I Am Hungry,” and “I Am Angry,” while others nestle into their private worlds: “You fell off the table / And landed on your head. / I picked you up / And put you to bed,” with the accompanying illustration showing a teddy bear tucked into bed. Riddell’s fluid watercolor-and-pencil illustrations bring a grace to each poem, no matter what its subject, and he depicts many ethnicities of children (in addition to animals and nonscary monsters). The text changes size and color with each page and often within the poem itself, a fine detail in this well-designed book. Some poems are strange (“Why did the man bend down low? / Why did the man eat some snow?”), reflecting the bemusement very small children feel at the doings of adults. The poem titled “Don’t Squash” shows an elephant who’s just stepped on something that may be a jelly doughnut, but the red ooze it splatters may provoke more than a few questions.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the odd bits, this book successfully celebrates the private, gleeful, imaginative world of toddlers. (Picture book/poetry. 1-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8116-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015



A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween.

This board book twists the traditional “Teeny Tiny” tale into a less-scary Halloween treat.

This version uses a singsong-y rhythm and cadence to tell the story. “In the teeny tiny barn / Of a teeny tiny house... / Lived a teeny tiny ghost / and a teeny tiny mouse.” Of course the ghost (being teeny tiny) is not very frightening. “But the determined little ghost / Let her mighty courage through / And with a teeny tiny breath / She said a teeny tiny: boo.” Spoiler alert: After just seven page turns the ghost and mouse become friends: “And now the teeny tinies play / In the teeny tiny house. / Just a teeny tiny ghost / And her best friend, mouse.” Pumpkins decorate the cover and final spread and illustrations throughout are in autumnal hues. The fairly high-for-the-format word count—19 to 21 words per page—may be more than toddlers will sit still for, but the “teeny tiny” repetition and rhymes will help. The size (just 6 inches square) makes using the book with a group a challenge, but with a lap-sitting child, it’ll be a pleasure.

A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31848-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019


Take it, or leave it.

A wintertime story that can be sung to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

The itsy bitsy snowman and his friends are playing in the snow. They climb up a snowy hill, jump on a sled, slide fast, and zip past children skating on ice. Then, though the text tells readers that he “dodged a snowball fight,” his head becomes separated from his body. Not to worry, “out came his friends / to lend a happy hand.” In the last spread the itsy bitsy snowman stands with his mom, dad, and friends, “And everything was perfect / in his winter wonderland.” The story, intended to be read to the tune of the beloved nursery rhyme, doesn’t always quite fit the template, as in: “The itsy bitsy snowman / climbed up the snowy hill. // He jumped on a sled / and slid fast…what a thrill!” For no obvious reason, on every page one word is printed in a different color from the rest of the text. Rescek’s illustrations are bright, cheery, and cartoonlike, with an appropriate wintry pale blue as the dominant color. Though sweet and cute, there is nothing particularly fresh or new here.

Take it, or leave it. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4837-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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