“Hooray! Hooray!” (Picture book. 2-5)

READ REVIEW

RESCUE SQUAD NO. 9

From the No. 9 series

Following Fire Engine No. 9 (2015), Austin looks at maritime emergency vehicles.

In Austin’ s second No. 9 book, the youngest readers find a gripping, exciting ocean rescue conducted by a mixed-race, mixed-gender team using intriguing vehicles and tools: helicopter and boat, with assists from the lighthouse and trucks on the dock. The crew seems to be going through its ordinary duties when the weather changes and a distress call comes in. The text is minimal: words repeat and appear in typeface that increases in size to convey urgency: “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY! // GO! GO! GO!” Bold, graphically splashy artwork captures the stormy, swelling sea and the rescue in motion. A sailboat has crashed against rocks with a sailor and dog onboard. Dramatic tension is heightened when horizontal scenes switch to vertical when the helicopter drops the Billy Pugh basket to pick up the stranded boaters. Never heard that term before? Don’t worry: endpapers feature the pieces of equipment and their names. All’s well that ends well. The squad gets the duo safely to shore as the sun comes out. An endnote includes tips for caregivers on water safety, and readers already savvy about the subject will be pleased to see that both the sailor and the dog are wearing life jackets.

“Hooray! Hooray!” (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93662-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Deceptively simple, with innovative illustrations and a catchy narrative, this book adeptly supplies information, a sense of...

SOME BUGS

A picture book that capers with joy in the buggy natural world.

With minimal words cajoled into loose rhyme—they have just enough structure to hold their own within the sprawling illustrations—each page of this ebullient book introduces a different bug’s proclivity (“Some bugs STING. Some bugs BITE”) while a small ladybug saunters past, serving as a cohesive visual element. (“Bug” is loosely construed to include many insects and arachnids.) The mixed-media illustrations play with form and white space, while the artistic-license black-and-white eyes of all the bugs cleverly draw readers’ gazes toward them, encouraging close examination. The second-to-final spread—a long shot—reveals to readers that the earlier illustrations in the book are actually close-ups of a single backyard. This visual surprise encourages the friendly accessibility of readers’ own backyards as habitats to explore. Only one jarring note disturbs the joyful tone of this book, and that is the indirect permission it gives to readers to capture these critters. As there is no textual exhortation to take care and let the creatures go after examining them, adults will need to underscore this independently.

Deceptively simple, with innovative illustrations and a catchy narrative, this book adeptly supplies information, a sense of accessibility, close looking and joie de vivre. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5880-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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