Ho hum. Please pass the next book.

FRIENDSGIVING

An autumnal celebration of friends and gratitude, minus story and historical context.

Siscoe’s text follows a group of anthropomorphic animals who are enjoying the fall season. As time passes and their numbers grow, they decide to get together for a meal. Although this gathering includes overt offerings of thanks and the menu has some hallmarks of the traditional American Thanksgiving feast (a pumpkin pie, roasted squash, cranberry sauce), the centerpiece of a roasted turkey is not there (there is no flesh of any kind). Also missing are any references to particular historical context, and any whitewashed references to Pilgrims and Indians are mercifully absent from words and pictures. Ultimately, however, there’s little to sink one’s teeth into in terms of story. Gibson’s illustrations, which are photographed dioramas with intricate settings, are more engaging, with the animal-doll characters positioned against hazy autumnal settings of a hill’s summit, a farmers market, an orchard, a garden, and then interior scenes of the titular “Friendsgiving” gathering. Children will likely enjoy them more than they will engage with the plot, which mostly involves bland conversations about foodstuffs, including one spread in which the characters marvel at the variety of apples they pick and another in which a mild debate over the superiority of apple pie versus apple crisp is resolved with the chipper agreement that both are delicious.

Ho hum. Please pass the next book. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-295676-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

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. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

more