A nifty caper showcasing teamwork, letter recognition, and word formation.

C JUMPED OVER THREE POTS AND A PAN AND LANDED SMACK IN THE GARBAGE CAN

This is a camp crisis and “an alphabet mystery,” but it’s not a typical alphabet book.

When B jumps over a mixing bowl, C knows he can jump farther. But after leaping “over three pots and a pan,” he lands “smack in the garbage can” and can’t get out. D sounds the alarm, and anthropomorphic alphabet characters team up to keep C from being “dumped in the garbage truck.” E (who has three arms) could certainly help, but E is missing, so H and I begin a search. M, “a crackerjack sleuth” with a deerstalker hat and magnifying glass, soon discovers “O, P, and R / have disappeared, too.” U, dressed in a superhero cape, soon cracks the case. “O, P, R, and E / are off making a word”—that turns out to be “just the thing we need for C.” In the end, “a ROPE, some friends, and a fabulous plan / all [rescue] C from the garbage can.” Spot-on rhyme and meter create a fast-moving mystery in which the alphabetical sequence becomes the basis of a charming chain of events leading to C’s rescue. Brightly colored and easily recognizable letters, adorned with facial features and a well-chosen accessory or two, stand out against uncluttered backgrounds of humorous scenes and activities. The setting is a bit uncertain, as the kitchen where C performs his stunt looks more like a suburban home’s than a camp’s, suggesting a day camp, but other scenes imply a sleep-away camp.

A nifty caper showcasing teamwork, letter recognition, and word formation. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7643-5795-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard.

THE WIND PLAYS TRICKS

When a fierce wind descends on the barnyard, the animals hear some odd noises…and they’re coming from their own mouths.

The sudden wind unsettles all the animals on the farm just when they should be getting ready for sleep. Instead, they anxiously “cheep” and “cluck” and “oink” and “quack” and “moooo.” They shift nervously, pull together, and make all sorts of noises. All except Turtle, who tucks into his shell under an old log and sleeps. In the morning, though, the animals get a surprise. Pig says, “Cluck”; the Little Chicks say, “Neigh”; Horse crows, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.” How will they get their proper sounds back? Turtle has an idea, and he enjoys the process so much that he decides to open his mouth the next time the wind plays tricks at the farm: Perhaps he’ll catch a sound all his own. Chua’s cartoon barnyard is bright, and her animals, expressive, their faces and body language slightly anthropomorphized. The edges of the figures sometimes betray their digital origins. Though the tale is humorous and will give lots of opportunity for practicing animal sounds, the audience is hard to pin down, as the young children sure to enjoy mooing and clucking may not have the patience to sit through the somewhat lengthy text.

For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8735-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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The flat ending is disappointing for a group of characters who could have exhibited a rousing rhythmic finale.

LOST AND FOUND, WHAT'S THAT SOUND?

Just before showtime, the animals in the band must search for their instruments in the lost and found by their identifying sounds.

A mouse happily claims the trumpet after a congenial-looking rabbit clerk produces a bicycle horn, trumpet, and toy train in response to a request for an instrument that makes a “Toot! Toot! Toot!” sound. Similarly a beaver retrieves the triangle from an assortment of things that make a “Ding! Ding! Ding!” sound. An elephant and a squirrel find their piano and drum, and the band reassembles, led by their conductor, a bat. The animals’ questions are phrased in rhyming couplets: “The thing I lost goes Plink! Plank! Plunk! I play it with my big, long trunk,” explains the elephant. The simple, black-outlined cartoons against a white or pale yellow background extend the narrative so that readers are expected to discern objects with their corresponding sounds. The rabbit offers the elephant first a piggy bank (“Plink!”), then a flowerpot full of water (“Plank!”), and then a comically tiny piano (“Plunk!”). Unfortunately, as the band comes together, their meager performance reflects the bareness of this storyline. The bat ends the search and exclaims, “You found my things! They sound so grand. / One, two, three— // let’s hit it, band! / Toot! Ding! Plunk! Boom!”

The flat ending is disappointing for a group of characters who could have exhibited a rousing rhythmic finale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-238068-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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