Lighthearted fun with a warm, musical touch.

PUSSYCAT, PUSSYCAT

Colorful illustrations and simple nursery rhymes with an accompanying audio CD make up this picture book.

On each double-page spread of this portrait-format picture book, colorful type tells a simple nursery rhyme, and the subject of the rhyme is illustrated with ample white space surrounding it. As a stand-alone picture book, it’s a bit rote, even if van Hout’s carefree, doodlelike illustrations are chock-full of whimsy. But once the CD is popped in, each spread comes alive as the uncluttered mother-and-daughter vocals of the Chambers Family turn the nursery rhyme into a little song. With the exception of the first song, which is 2 1/2 minutes, the rest of the songs are under 1 minute—even when they are repeated twice (a perfect opportunity for readers to sing along the second time). Some of the nursery rhymes are familiar, such as “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” but many are likely to be new to readers—and the one about the centipede is delightfully silly. The last rhyme, about a baby bird under its mother’s wing, is an especially satisfying way to end the book, but unfortunately the centrally placed illustration (like several others) suffers from being bisected by the gutter. It’s not terrible, but it is visually distracting.

Lighthearted fun with a warm, musical touch. (Picture book/poetry. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-935954-48-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lemniscaat USA

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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

TEENY TINY GHOST

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 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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