A soon-to-be favorite that kids will love hearing, and, later, paging through by themselves.

PEEK-A MOO!

From the Peek-a series

A rhyming and guessing delight for infants and toddlers.

The latest entry in author Laden’s popular Peek-a series takes readers on a fun-filled trip to a farm in search of agricultural rhymes for “Moo.” The words “Peek a” challenge children to guess who or what lies on the other side of the die-cut window on the opposite page. Behind a field of sprouting green shoots is a full-grown tomato (“Peek a GREW!”); a feed bag conceals a toothy nag chomping on hay (“Peek a CHEW!”). A rooster (“Peek a COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!”), a sheep (“Peek a EWE!”), and a mirror (“Peek a YOU, TOO!”) round out the festivities. The book is just right for small hands, and it’s sturdy enough to withstand them. The artwork is irresistible: bright colors show off the simple but elegant design. The images are deceptively cartoonish, even crude at first glance, but every drawing is embellished with meticulous, symmetrical shading suggestive of woodblock prints. The animals have loads of personality; the farming scenes and props are uncluttered, with just the right amount of detail. The rhyme scheme makes the vocabulary easy to remember, and, while the gags may not set new standards in literary humor, the element of page-turning surprise and the ever popular peekaboo motif should have little ones howling with laughter.

A soon-to-be favorite that kids will love hearing, and, later, paging through by themselves. (Board book. 6 mos.-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5474-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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