Firefighter-loving kids will jump over candlesticks to get their hands on these cute and capable emergency workers.

When there’s a fire to be tackled, only a qualified nursery-rhyme crew will do!

Pink-coiffed Mother Goose may look demure when reading in her House of Rhyme, but when there is danger, she springs into action! The Queen of Tarts is facing a bakery fire, so it’s up to the famous fowl and her crew of multiracial nursery-rhyme characters to put it out. After “gear[ing] up in forty seconds flat,” everyone races to the fire. At the blaze, they display a wide array of different firefighting techniques, including the use of water cannons, a fire ax, dirt, a bucket brigade, and helicopters with bucket scoops (loaded with jam). The familiar stars of everyone’s favorite rhymes pair nicely with this technical know-how of equipment and expertise. Chief M. Goose herself commands from a “high-tech rig” tricked out with radios and a satellite. Rhymes scan consistently, and female-presenting characters are given just as much agency as their male-presenting counterparts. Insider nursery-rhyme jokes also abound. For example, the last readers see of the heroic squad, they’re heading off to answer an emergency call from Ladybug. One might quibble about the fact that dumping jam on a fire would almost certainly intensify it, but in the end the book’s having too much fun to care. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22% of actual size.)

Firefighter-loving kids will jump over candlesticks to get their hands on these cute and capable emergency workers. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-09357-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021


A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween.

This board book twists the traditional “Teeny Tiny” tale into a less-scary Halloween treat.

This version uses a singsong-y rhythm and cadence to tell the story. “In the teeny tiny barn / Of a teeny tiny house... / Lived a teeny tiny ghost / and a teeny tiny mouse.” Of course the ghost (being teeny tiny) is not very frightening. “But the determined little ghost / Let her mighty courage through / And with a teeny tiny breath / She said a teeny tiny: boo.” Spoiler alert: After just seven page turns the ghost and mouse become friends: “And now the teeny tinies play / In the teeny tiny house. / Just a teeny tiny ghost / And her best friend, mouse.” Pumpkins decorate the cover and final spread and illustrations throughout are in autumnal hues. The fairly high-for-the-format word count—19 to 21 words per page—may be more than toddlers will sit still for, but the “teeny tiny” repetition and rhymes will help. The size (just 6 inches square) makes using the book with a group a challenge, but with a lap-sitting child, it’ll be a pleasure.

A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31848-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019


From the Canticos series

A testament to the universality of love.

An expanded explanation of love in both English and Spanish.

Several animal personalities pose the question, “What is love?” and in a series of lift-the-flap responses present various emotional scenarios. Little Elephant asks Spider, “Is it the joy of having you around?” Spider asks, “Is it the way you lift me when I’m down?” Each page corresponds to a flap that reveals one of a multitude of feelings love can evoke in either an English or Spanish rhyme, which are not direct translations of each other. An interspersed refrain notes, “Amor for the Spanish, / and love en inglés. / Love in any language / always means the same.” A palette of pastels and purple and pink hues dominate as hearts abound on each page, surrounding the characters, who are adorable though on the overly sweet side. The characters are from the bilingual preschool series Canticos, though it will work even among those without knowledge of the show. Children more fluent in Spanish will be better able to appreciate this, and those familiar with the show will recognize the signature characters, including “Los Pollitos” (Little Chickies). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A testament to the universality of love. (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-945635-72-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

Close Quickview