The appealing topic combined with easy-to-operate pull tabs and sliders will make this a toddler favorite.

READ REVIEW

KNIGHTS' CASTLE

From the Bizzy Bear series

Bizzy Bear learns what it’s like to be a knight as he visits a castle to try his paw at jousting.

This chunky board title features cute Bizzy Bear, and short, simple rhymes tell the story of his day at a castle. Bizzy begins by donning some armor: “Bizzy Bear, Bizzy Bear, here to be a knight. / Bizzy Bear, Bizzy Bear, fits just right!” Readers can help Bizzy by sliding the helmet’s visor up and down with an easy-to-grip tab. Additional tabs on subsequent pages allow little hands to help Bizzy as he brandishes a sword and wins a jousting contest. On the final double-page spread, he is pictured with a trophy, surrounded by friends and enjoying a spectacular feast. The illustrations are vivid and engaging, the storyline appropriately simple, and the interactive features both well-designed and well-constructed. In companion volume Zookeeper, the sliders and tabs enable youngsters to interact with various zoo animals. For example, an easy up-and-down motion makes a crocodile chomp, and the spin of a wheel makes some hungry penguins swim after their fish dinner. The busyness of the illustrations gear both books to toddlers.

The appealing topic combined with easy-to-operate pull tabs and sliders will make this a toddler favorite. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7602-5

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep.

DEEP SEA DIVE

LIFT-THE-FLAP ADVENTURES

A diver directly recruits his audience to explore the salty sea.

Closed, the shaped cover follows the curve of the diver’s helmet; open, it evokes goggles through which readers can explore the deep. A variety of underwater creatures are revealed through lifting flaps; brief rhyming text on the undersides of the flaps provides a little informational heft. These rhymes are not distinguished by their lyricism, alas. “Jellyfish are pretty— / some glow in the dark. / But don't swim too close— / their sting leaves a mark.” The simply drawn creatures are not depicted to scale. The seahorse dominates its page, while the toothy shark appears shorter than the sea turtle. Two-toned blue backgrounds evoke waves. Space Walk uses an identical format to survey the planets (all eight of them) and is equally superficial.

The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-8525-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Pass on this weak offering.

WHERE IS FLUFFY?

From the My First Stories series

A predictable board-book mystery.

The mystery involves a common childhood crisis—a lost toy. Ho’s trademark round-headed animals stand in for humans with a range of emotions, from the persistently worried Little Bunny to grumpy Pig. Each barnyard animal offers the distraught bunny a comforting alternative to his blanket, “Fluffy.” Finally, when Mouse admits to borrowing Fluffy for a snuggle, Little Bunny forgives him surprisingly quickly because, “I love my Fluffy for snuggling too.” The rhyming text presents problems—either by not actually rhyming (lost/most; fur/near) or falling inconsistently, making end rhymes unpredictable and less than useful in a book for pre-readers. Instead of letting the pictures tell the story, superfluous speaker attributions make this a tedious read-aloud and impede the rhyme: “ ‘I'll search the pond for your Fluffy,’ says Duck. / ‘I've looked underwater already. No luck!’ Fish tells Little Bunny.” The various flaps, foil inserts, and very small tactile elements are not intriguing enough to rescue the story. The tiny patch of wolf fur peeking through the page with the lambs is easily missed (and is disconcertingly far away from the picture of the wolf). Perhaps out of concern for the safety of the lamb, the wolf does not appear on the next page. No similar caution is shown when the owl shares a page with its prey. Do owls not eat chicks wearing spectacles?

Pass on this weak offering. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-2-7338-3235-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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