A fine birthday present for early readers.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

From the Sing Along With Me! series

Newly liberated from copyright protection, the birthday song gets a board book.

Everybody knows “Happy Birthday to You,” and little readers can sing along as they manipulate the sliding mechanisms found within this chunky board book. A little bunny wakes up to be greeted by smiling parents with breakfast in bed—clearly a birthday treat. The bunny opens presents, greets friends, and enjoys birthday cake. The sliding components are quite sturdy, but eager readers may still rip out some of the panels. Before they do, they can slide the parent bunnies into the doorway, “open” the big package that contains a brand-new tricycle, pop some friends up over the hedge, and cause those friends to sway in time to the song. The festive illustrations colored with yellows, purples, and blues will certainly draw little ones in. The similarly crafted and simultaneously publishing Hey Diddle Diddle renders the popular Mother Goose nursery rhyme, allowing readers to jump the cow over the moon on the cover. A QR code is included with each board book, enabling tech-savvy adults to download the songs.

A fine birthday present for early readers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9505-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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