Families that enjoy repetitive songs, such as “The Wheels on the Bus,” will be glad to throw this fruit-eating space...

Fred Pinsocket Loves Bananas

A spaceman boldly proclaims his love for Earth’s appealing yellow fruit in this board-book debut by singer/songwriter Apel.

Fred Pinsocket flies a rocket around the universe, plays keytar and drums, and has a passion for bananas. The rhymes here are the lyrics to Apel’s song of the same title, which he offers as a free download with the purchase of the book. The lyrics are silly enough without the music, but with the tune and sound effects, children will be sure to enjoy it; as a result, they’ll likely want to play the music and read the book repeatedly. Fred, with his bulbous nose, enormous eyes, red spacesuit, and blue helmet with a satellite dish on top, is a likable little guy, and creative, early-grade readers who pick up this book may even attempt their own drawings of him. Very young readers will enjoy the repeated phrases: “I love bananas. I love them. Yum! Yum! Yum!” The rhyme scheme is steady throughout, with the addition of extra phrases that make better sense with the instrumentation. The only challenging words are Fred’s last name and “potassium”—but even if kids don’t know what the latter means, they’re still likely to sing or repeat the word, as it rhymes with “yum.” The board book’s sturdy pages, with their brightly colored backgrounds, will hold up to the rereadings that 3- to 5-year-olds may require. Adults may not be as excited about repeating the same lyrics again and again, particularly when the sparse word count includes four repetitions of the chorus. Young readers, however, will giggle over and over again, and the images of Fred’s rocket towing a ball of bananas will bring a smile to even the stingiest adult’s face.

Families that enjoy repetitive songs, such as “The Wheels on the Bus,” will be glad to throw this fruit-eating space traveler into their mix.

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0990794103

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Fred Pinsocket Productions

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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