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From the Lily and Milo series

The thick, durable pages make this perfect for multiple readings and page turnings for the youngest listeners.

The bunny and mouse duo from Looking for Colors with Lily and Milo (2017) returns in a new outing to gather treasures in the woods.

On a rainy, windy day the two set off to explore the woods while leaves fall, fruit trees shed their apples and pears, forest creatures (hedgehog, snail, owl, and squirrel) provide some intrigue, and the sun finally appears. The somewhat more mature and levelheaded Lily continues to provide her experienced guidance to the curious and exuberant Milo. When they come across a variety of bright-red mushrooms with white spots, Lily wisely states that though they are pretty to look at, “We can’t pick mushrooms.…They have to stay in the woods.” Lily creates a nice centerpiece from her collection of leaves and such, while Milo can’t seem to choose and brings everything he can carry home. The text consists of short, declarative sentences translated from the original Dutch and also includes sporadic interactive elements that ask children to consider various items on the page. Toddlers stay engaged by selecting the appropriate clothing from a list of choices, by finding a spider away from its web, or by looking for acorns and pine cones with Milo. Charming characters are outlined in black and filled with bold colors and set against pale backdrops.

The thick, durable pages make this perfect for multiple readings and page turnings for the youngest listeners. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60537-459-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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