Sweet! A clear and charming introduction to a standard preschool curriculum concept.

OPPOSITES WITH OWL AND BIRD

From the Owl and Bird series

Owl and Bird return in a well-designed and whimsical look at a complex concept.

With the help of some buddies, Owl and Bird demonstrate the meanings of 14 opposing words. Each page is divided into two similarly tinted halves, with a word and its opposite receiving equal treatment. Most of the predictable pairs (wet/dry, up/down) are easily illustrated with changes in Bird’s position. Less-concrete ideas require abstract reasoning based on details provided in the uncluttered illustrations. For example, to show the meaning of fast/slow, Owl zooms in from the left on pink roller skates while Bird sedately rides atop a tortoise. The bemused-looking Owl is featured on every spread, often appearing in multiple illustrations. To demonstrate up/down, Owl balances on the fulcrum of a teeter-totter while a jay perches on the upper handhold and Bird on the lower. The only text is the concept word printed in a large, clean black type at the top of each panel, directly above the illustration used to define that word. With repeated shared readings children will begin to recognize these words. Older preschoolers may find they are actually reading them. And yes, for fans of the duo’s previous outing, Hey Owl, What’s in the Box? (2020), there are donuts—one for less and four for more.

Sweet! A clear and charming introduction to a standard preschool curriculum concept. (Board book. 18 mos.-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-80036-007-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiny Seed

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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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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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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