The bookmaking quality underwhelms, but the compelling, vivid art makes this one untraditional excursion under the sea.

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OCEAN

PEEKABOO FLAPS INSIDE!

From the Peek-a-Baby series

Lift the flaps to help marine life parents find their babies.

For better or worse, there’s plenty going on in this board book. Each die-cut page grows progressively taller, with variously shaped waves, boats, and rocks jutting out of the top, creating a three-dimensional appearance. It’s a swell look, but those little edges sticking up bend and shred when handled, significantly shortening the book’s life span, especially when combined with the flimsy binding. Inside, readers lift (thankfully more robust) flaps to locate the baby animals. Rendered in an eye-catching but somewhat disquieting palette of blood-red, navy, teal, and pale chartreuse, the angular, heavily layered backgrounds with extensive shading capture a feeling of the water’s depth. The marine life is equally idiosyncratic, with evocatively stylized bodies that are more striking than traditionally adorable. Though the sea creatures have those friendly faces and wide eyes that so often denote picture-book cuteness, there are too many sharp angles and toothy mouths to see them as sweet, with the exception of a perfectly cradled baby otter. Conveyed in a perfunctory rhyme that starts on the page and finishes inside the flaps, the uninspired verse scans but reads aloud as choppily as the waves atop the pages. Companion title Farm offers a bit more adorableness but shares this title’s construction flaws.

The bookmaking quality underwhelms, but the compelling, vivid art makes this one untraditional excursion under the sea. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6646-9

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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