This is one to pore over—visually appealing, intellectually satisfying, and fun to boot.

READ REVIEW

THE BIG BOOK OF ANIMALS OF THE WORLD

This oversized board book highlights both familiar and unusual animals in a variety of habitats.

Fans of Richard Scarry will feel an instant affinity for this ambitious effort, in which each impressive double-page spread offers a panoramic view of a particular region of the world. The scenes are populated by endearing cartoon mice and dotted with some recognizable icons to suggest general location (though, regrettably, the regions are not explicitly identified). Above and around each landscape are drawings of animals that can be found in that particular region. Each spread includes around 20 animals, from the typical, such as the peacock and orangutan, to the relatively unusual, like the Komodo dragon, the wombat, and the kiwi. The title’s only text consists of labels for all of the animals as well as certain elements of the landscape, such as, for example, “volcano” and “big city.” Refreshingly, none of the landscapes is exoticized: evidence of modern human habitation and industry exist side by side with the iconically picturesque. Readers will enjoy seeing familiar and new animals in the context of their habitats, as well as following the antics of the busy little mice, two of whom can be found in every region, riding in a yellow hot air balloon and gazing out over the wonderful world below.

This is one to pore over—visually appealing, intellectually satisfying, and fun to boot. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-7765-7012-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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