Gentle, atmospheric, and lovely.

WHERE GO THE BOATS?

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. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Similar to Lenny Hort’s Seals on the Bus, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (2000), this treatment populates the bus with a...

THE WHEELS ON THE BUS

Cabrera continues to adapt nursery rhymes and children’s songs (Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, 2010, etc.) into interactive picture books for the young preschool set, here taking on that beloved bus ride.

Similar to Lenny Hort’s Seals on the Bus, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (2000), this treatment populates the bus with a menagerie of African animals ranging from the common lion and zebra to lesser-known flamingos and bush babies. Most animals make a trio of sounds, like the monkeys’ “Chatter, chatter, chatter” or the hyena’s “Ha, ho, hee,” but on occasion there is action: The chameleon “plays Hide-and-seek.” The tale ends as the giraffe driver delivers the wild riders to a watering hole with a satisfying “SPLISH! SPLASH! SPLOSH! All day long!” Readers will enjoy the journey Cabrera illustrates with her easily recognizable style—bright hues outlined in black, with a finger-paint–like texture.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2350-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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Preschoolers enamored with construction equipment will enjoy this cheerful tale, which is simple enough for little ones just...

DALMATIAN IN A DIGGER

Four animals with heavy construction equipment arrive to build a treehouse as a surprise for a Dalmatian puppy.

The puppy awakens to loud, unexpected sounds and a foreshadowing glimpse of a big, metal scoop outside the bedroom window. The puppy joyously discovers an adult Dalmatian driving an excavator, called a “digger” in this British author/illustrator’s text. Just a couple of brief sentences describe the action of the digger, punctuated with creative sound effects incorporated into the illustrations in collage-effect letters. Another set of loud sounds precedes the arrival of a camel in a crane, followed by a duck in a dump truck, and a bear in a bulldozer. Each new piece of equipment has its own set of exuberant sounds that relate loosely to the machine’s function, such as “DUMP, SPLAT, CRASH” for the dump truck. The patterned text uses the machines’ sounds as a predictive device, with a dramatic page turn to reveal the next animal and corresponding construction equipment. Bold, movement-filled illustrations create a buoyant atmosphere, with jaunty animal characters and bright flowers and trees surrounding the construction site. There’s a bit of a logic gap between the heavy equipment and the concluding treehouse, as there are no carpenters shown building the actual house. Another small drawback is the gender bias in the four animal equipment drivers, as only one is identified as female; the puppy’s gender is not specified.

Preschoolers enamored with construction equipment will enjoy this cheerful tale, which is simple enough for little ones just transitioning into real stories. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62370-802-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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