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Gentle, atmospheric, and lovely.

This Robert Louis Stevenson poem is brought to life on pages that fold out rather than turn.

On the cover, a White-presenting child with short, light-brown hair sets a toy sailboat adrift on a river. The book’s pages then open up left to right to reveal an expanding scene of the riverbank, with several more of these toy boats sailing down the water. Two to four lines of Stevenson’s verse are shared in white type on each page. As the book unfolds readers see more of the scene, including a frog eyeing its insect dinner flying overhead, a deer gazing at the water, and the silhouettes of a baseball-cap–wearing grown-up fishing with a child who’s admiring the boats. Sheban’s soft, golden-hour–lit art, in what looks to be watercolor and pastel or pencil, matches the mood of the poem perfectly. While the unusual binding is a brilliant idea that allows the structure of the book to emulate a meandering river, it may prove slightly unwieldy for lap reading, as, when extended, it is more than 3 feet long. The scene is completed with a view of another White child, this one with long hair, retrieving one of the toy boats. The content of Stevenson’s poem may float over the heads of the youngest readers, but the language is gorgeously sonorous, and the art and format do a wonderful job of creating an immersive experience.

Gentle, atmospheric, and lovely. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-56846-352-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 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...

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. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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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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