DOGS

From the Look & Learn series

Young dog lovers (and vehicle aficionados in the companion title) will enjoy perusing these images again and again.

This up-close introduction to dogs uses vivid photos as illustrations.

Every other double-page spread reveals a different canine aspect, including their size, fur, senses of smell and more. The simple text, written in panels above the photos, shares just enough information for very young readers. Direct questions encourage grown-ups to engage little ones: “Which dog is bigger?” Facts about dogs (“Guess what? Your dog can tell whether you’ve been playing with another dog just by smelling you!”) appear on alternating spreads along with photos of various breeds in outdoor settings. One small quibble: A spread that reads “Dogs can hear sounds that humans cannot” shows a young Caucasian boy blowing what looks to be a garden-variety sports whistle and not a dog whistle. Things That Go, publishing simultaneously in the Look & Learn series, uses a similar format to catalog cars, trucks, airplanes, trains and boats. Individual parts of each vehicle are labeled with arrows and captions. In both titles, the final spread encourages readers to review the vehicles presented or to point out different aspects of dogs mentioned on subsequent pages.

Young dog lovers (and vehicle aficionados in the companion title) will enjoy perusing these images again and again. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4263-1705-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

SMILE, POUT-POUT FISH

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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