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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

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While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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

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