Cheerful fun for careful tots.



From the Changing Faces series

A little white mouse endeavors to make a mercurial brown bear feel happy.

Said mouse encourages readers to do something silly, sing a song, or blow bubbles to lighten the mood. A turn of the page slides vertical panels into place to change the expression on Happy Bear’s round face, visible through a circular die-cut hole, from worried or angry back to his open-mouthed grin. When the bear starts crying, the mouse wonders who can make him happy again, and, on the final page, readers see that it is the soothing presence of his mommy, who greets him with a hug. Ballesteros’ illustrations employ pleasant graphics with rounded edges and flat planes of color in muted tones, keeping the focus at all times on the main event. Publishing in October 2018, a companion book called Wake Up Santa! is also written by Thoms but is illustrated by Pintachan, who uses similarly sanguine imagery with a retro feel that harkens back to a 1950s graphic sensibility. This holiday title uses the same face-changing mechanism to show a white Santa Claus and entourage waking up to prepare for the annual Christmas Eve toy delivery. (Three elves appear to be white; one has brown skin and black hair.) While the face-changing gimmick will undoubtedly delight, it is probably best suited to the upper-end of the board-book age range, as the pages are cardstock and thinner than what is typically found in this format.

Cheerful fun for careful tots. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2474-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.


From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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