Mother Goose gets a mechanical makeover in this gear-inspired nursery-rhyme collection.

Twenty-three familiar rhymes are rewritten with a wide range of vehicles in mind. As nursery rhymes are such a flexible form, they easily lend themselves to Colby’s motorized reimaginings. Whether it’s “Little Miss Mixer,” “This Little Steam Train,” or “Bumpty Dumpty” (about a dump truck, naturally), caregivers should have no difficulty singing, chanting, or rhythmically reading the verses on display. Each scans perfectly, never requiring readers to engage in any verbal gymnastics. There are even helpful hints for caregivers below each poem’s title, indicating its original name (“Little Jack Junker” references “Little Jack Horner,” for instance). While most of the poems in this collection pass muster, the same cannot be said for Kaminsky’s digital art. His cartoony anthropomorphic vehicles are rendered with little sophistication in their depictions and as much attention to scale. The media notes tell readers outlines were drawn with a digital piece of soft vine charcoal, but the inconsistency in their thickness between the vehicles and animals depicted gives the compositions a cut-and-paste quality. The result is a book with aural but not visual charm.

A partial misfire. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-10193-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hard-to-find numbers make this counting book one to skip.


Four-line poems introduce the numbers zero to nine opposite stylized, colorful mixed-media illustrations that incorporate them.

The relevant numeral is printed clearly over each poem and worked into the pictures, with dotted blue lines to help readers find them. This device sometimes works against itself. For example, the poem headed “3” reads: “Curve out and back in— / Do it once, then repeat: / A three is red pepper / On pizza. Let’s eat!” The poem is inviting, but the red pepper 3’s on the pizza slices opposite are obscured by the dotted blue lines superimposed on them. There are also three people to count and three tuning pegs on the banjo one kid plays. Those elements of the illustration are clear enough, but locating the numeral can be hard. Most pictures share this difficulty, although some, like the two balls of the snowman representing 8, are easier to spot. (Eight children play around the snowman, and there are eight pieces of coal marking its features.) The pictures include people with varying skin tones. In acknowledgment of the difficulty of the concept, a concluding double-page spread with number shapes incorporated into the composition is followed by an identical spread with the number shapes circled for readers to confirm their guesses. The rear endpapers offer each numeral with a corresponding number of thumbnails from the appropriate earlier spread for extra practice.

Hard-to-find numbers make this counting book one to skip. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4321-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The cutesy and busy illustrations, confusing text, and sometimes-delicate tabs keep this from delivering everything it...


If lifting flaps is the goal, the 52 contained in this board book deliver.

A winking red “SPED-X!” truck on the cover promises intriguing treats on the die-cut pages within. On the first spread flaps on a fleet of four trucks reveal the tools of the trade: boxes, packing materials, a dolly, a pallet. Successive pages highlight specific types of cargo. Unfortunately, essential information is sacrificed in favor of rhyming text. For example, “A truck full of rides is the BEST ONE YET!” is identified as a carnival truck only by its clown face. But it does rhyme with the next, equally confusing, line: “But nothing beats the lovable truck that delivers your new PET!” This may have children wondering where the pet-delivery trucks in their neighborhood are. Similarly, a truck described as smelling “sweet” is delivering flowers, not the ice cream most children would assume. A double-page spread of a vehicle carrier is the most intriguing, though the double-cut tabs will quickly tear, and the vehicles revealed offer an odd mix of vocabulary. (What looks like a military jeep is identified as a “clunker”; other tabs hide a “hybrid car” with dangling plug, a personal “watercraft,” and an “ATV.”) Caregivers should heed the back cover’s caution: “HANDLE WITH CARE.”

The cutesy and busy illustrations, confusing text, and sometimes-delicate tabs keep this from delivering everything it promises. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9219-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet