Even toddler tool enthusiasts may find this a mess despite the graphic simplicity.

READ REVIEW

LET'S FIX UP THE YARD

Little ones can learn about all the tools and machines involved in yard maintenance.

On each verso, one of these tools—such as a lawn mower, a hose, or a hedge trimmer—is pictured against a white background accompanied by the repeated “We’ll need” across the top and the caption labeling this object at bottom to complete the sentence. On the facing page, faceless, gender-indeterminate figures with either black or white circles for heads use said tool accompanied by a four- to five-word explanation. While Pizzo’s stylistic imagery is direct and graphically clean, it is a bit disorienting. It looks as if the figures are working on a specific project, but it is unclear where the leaves are coming from on the leaf-blower page, why holes need to be dug on the shovel spread, and where “concrete” is being poured to demonstrate the “cement mixer.” A companion title, Let’s Fix up the House, is equally disorienting, as there is no presentation of any start-to-finish project. Walls are demolished with a sledgehammer, tiles are laid, and lumber is sawed with little explanation. While one must admire a board book that includes a chainsaw, it ultimately disappointments with disjointed scenes and a lack of any overall framing.

Even toddler tool enthusiasts may find this a mess despite the graphic simplicity. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7643-5915-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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While Taro Gomi did this gimmick first and better (Peekaboo, 2013, in English; 1990 in Japan), this is a welcome addition to...

THE EYES GAME

From the Let's Play Games! series

Tullet’s latest interactive creation turns an open book into a game of peekaboo.

With an almond-shaped die-cut eye hole punched through each page, a mask for readers to wear is created across the double-page spread. Little ones and their grown-ups can don two human (both Caucasian) masks, as well as one cat, one robot and three aliens (or are they monsters?). Tullet’s bold colors are present here in his graphically simple and playful cartoons rendered with thick black lines. The minimal text consists of an appropriate greeting from the character in question (“Hello!” “Hey!” “Miiiiiow!”) and a simple, first-person one-liner for the mask wearer to repeat. The choking-hazard warnings that have plagued many of Tullet’s other board-book offerings are absent, a welcome change. As many toddlers can be wary of masks, parents and caregivers should take pains to share this title with sensitivity.

While Taro Gomi did this gimmick first and better (Peekaboo, 2013, in English; 1990 in Japan), this is a welcome addition to the growing number of board books that go masked. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7148-6689-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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