A happy book that should stand up to substantial toddler abuse.

POOKIE POP PLAYS HIDE-AND-SEEK

From the Tiny Tab series

The familiar game played with sturdy pull tabs.

Pookie Pop, a cartoon-style kitty, is looking for her animal friends. Using the same format as Cutie Pie Looks for the Easter Bunny (2015), Ho's cheerful, anthropomorphic animals appear when sturdy tabs are pulled. Young children will quickly chime in on the “found you” refrain as each friend is discovered. The animals included have no relationship in real life—being from every continent and looking more like stuffed animals than the real things. This is a vocabulary builder, with both common creatures and such exotic animals as rhino, toucan, and koala waiting to be found. The birthday party at the end is a happy surprise, though curiously, only six of the 12 animals found are shown gathered around the table. The rounded tabs are sandwiched between thick board pages. Toddlers firmly grasping the page may have trouble getting the tab to slide, but once they discover the reward of a cute creature hiding, they will learn to hold the page gently. The half-circle tabs are less prone to fraying than smaller, square-edged tabs.

A happy book that should stand up to substantial toddler abuse. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7600-1

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A joyful celebration.

FAMILIES BELONG

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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

THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

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. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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