SCRUBBA DUB

Van Laan is known and respected for her abilities with story rhymes. In Scrubba Dub’s pre-cursor, Tickle Tum (2001), also illustrated by Pons, the verse moves the story forward and delivers fresh ideas to make supper time more palatable. This bath-time account, however, is rather soggy. The text stumbles from rhymes into halting, herky-jerky tongue stoppers. It begins well enough as a toddler bunny is undressed and prepared for cleansing, “Ewww yuck / sticka stuck! Off goes romper suit / tug tug pull. / Off go sneaker sneaks / tubba tub’s full.” But the reader is soon fumbling for verbal equilibrium and struggling with quasi-words as in “Tippitta dippitta tugboat toots.” The illustrations, in powdery purples and blues, depict tub scenes familiar (and ordinary) to youngsters, e.g. toys, bubbles, soap, water. Clearly happy and harmonious, mommy and babies faces are beaming with love. Pons’s softly lit paintings use watercolors and chalk to appealing effect and her artwork saves this story, but Scrubba Dub as a whole doesn’t offer up anything new or interesting to the saturated bath theme market. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-84459-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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

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 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

HAPPY EASTER, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

An upbeat Easter outing with a beloved character.

Pookie celebrates Easter with a play date and holiday activities.

Pookie’s friend Bean, a gray puppy, comes over for Easter fun that includes lots of bouncing around and egg decorating. After Bean goes home, Pookie gets excited about the Easter Bunny’s arrival and goes to sleep dreaming of a large chocolate egg. Like the other Pookie books before it, this one is told in rhyme from the perspective of a loving grown-up addressing the little pig, which keeps the pace moving and makes for a great read-aloud. Bean and Pookie are realistically—and endearingly—childlike, from Pookie’s pronunciation of yellow as “lellow!” to the joyful mess they make while decorating eggs. There are plenty of sweet and festive touches, such as the bunny ears that Bean and Pookie (and Pookie’s teddy) wear and the daffodils painted on the end of Pookie’s bed. The illustrations include large, full-page images as well as smaller vignettes against solid backgrounds. One page shows Pookie and parent looking out the window at the moon, anticipating Easter’s spoils. For fans of Boynton and little Pookie, this Easter tale is exactly as expected: a touch of playfulness, a relatable story, and comfort in the familiar. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An upbeat Easter outing with a beloved character. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-66592-838-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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