From the Standroid & Dandroid series

Robot buddies trash the house together and then clean up after themselves.

After charging up their batteries, two colorful robots initiate their play sequence and go to town “squishing,” “crashing,” “twirling,” and “splatting” anything in their paths. The artwork is eye-catching and the sound effects fun to read aloud with children, but the mayhem level is unregulated by any moral or practical concern. The narrative is thin. What the robots are squishing and splatting is never specified, and whether or not they should be doing so also goes unaddressed. Commentary is relegated to the “We LOVE squishing” level. Any complexity in the text arises from the introduction of robot and computer terminology: “Splatting TICKLES our GIGGLEBYTES,” and “Sensors indicate making a mess is FUN!!” Once mired in the mess they’ve created, the two friends scan their surroundings, process the data, and identify a solution, which is, of course, to clean up their mess. That lesson in problem-solving may be the most useful moment in the book. The clean-up scenes involve wiping, slurping with vacuum hoses, squirting suds, and scrubbing until the mess is “terminated.” The message that one should clean up after making a mess is a good one. Unfortunately, the idea of toddlers smearing goo and squirting suds sounds as potentially disastrous as all the squishing and splatting that created the problem in the first place.

OK, if aptly titled. (Board book. 18 mos.-4)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0567-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A gentle outing for children who are ready for stories of everyday life rather than just objects to name.


A brief rhyming board book for toddlers.

Spurr's earlier board books (In the Garden and At the Beach, both 2012; In the Woods, 2013) featured an adventuresome little boy. Her new slice-of-life story stars an equally joyful little girl who takes pleasure in flying a new kite while not venturing far off the walkway. Oliphant's expressive and light-filled watercolors clearly depict the child's emotions—eager excitement on the way to the park, delight at the kite's flight in the wind, shock when the kite breaks free, dejection, and finally relief and amazement. The rhymes work, though uneven syllable counts in some stanzas interrupt the smooth flow of the verse. The illustrations depict the child with her mass of windblown curls, brown skin, and pronounced facial features as African-American. Her guardian (presumably her mother) is also brown-skinned. It is refreshing to see an African-American family settled comfortably in a suburban setting with single-family homes and a park where the family dog does not need to be leashed.

A gentle outing for children who are ready for stories of everyday life rather than just objects to name. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56145-854-7

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Put on those gardening gloves; the fruits of this labor beckon.


From the Teenie Greenies series

A young girl watches her garden grow.

Though she's a bit older than the typical board-book audience, her self-reliance makes her an appealing character for toddlers struggling to assert their independence. The strategic use of sturdy flaps provides both peekaboo fun and structure to the storyline. “Yellow daisy. / Red rose. / A bud blooms. / [lift flap] A flower grows.” Some of the interactive elements clearly connect objects to one another (shovel, pail), while other pairings review the progress of the blossoming outdoors. The child enjoys the results of her hard work (smelling a flower has never been so sweet) and waters her lush plants with her pint-sized watering can. Varied vocabulary extends the text. “Harvest carrots / . . . squash and peas. / [lift flap] Pollinated by the bees.” Perhaps due to their having been printed on recycled paper with soy inks, the matte sides of the flaps tend to be darker than the rest, which are glossy.

Put on those gardening gloves; the fruits of this labor beckon. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-93041-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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