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A humorous and spirited counting tale for young readers.

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In this counting picture book, a bedtime story features plenty of action.

Counting from one to 10, Lisa, a red-haired White girl, and Charlie, a Black boy, describe a story filled with madcap events. For instance, they say the tale is “so noisy, it’s like 3 billy goats are having a meeting.” They also explain that it’s “so Buzzy, it’s like 4 little fairies are fluttering around in the bathroom all trying to brush their tiny teeth at once,” and it’s “so mixed-up, it’s like 8 BIG mice are playing tag with 9 mini cats in the front yard.” When it’s time for bed, Charlie and Lisa count backward from 10 to one, recalling each happening. They admit that it’s “SO hard to sleep with all of this hubbub going on” because “this is NOT REALLY a good night book” but a “GOOD MORNING book.” The story concludes: “Wake up, kids! Welcome to this special day!” Evenson’s zany tale packed with creative scenes will aptly introduce youngsters to basic counting skills. The imaginative incidents have kid appeal, such as the “candy explosion in the playroom.” Matkevych’s colorful, lively illustrations offer animated renderings with charming details, including where critters cozily slumber. Readers will enjoy anthropomorphic characters like the smiling broccoli florets and gardening tools. The last spread integrates the players and elements from each episode, such as the two “big and bad” elephants playing on the seven “wacky swings.”

A humorous and spirited counting tale for young readers.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-83934-335-3

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Bumblebee Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2022

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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