Elephant’s pure joy in exploration and success are sure to be catching, so make sure the blocks are close at hand.

CRASH! BOOM! A MATH TALE

An elephant tot stacks wooden blocks to measure height.

Elephant’s block play is just like young readers’: Elephant kneels, crouches, and stands in the course of building towers that equal their own height. A smile and wide-thrown arms express joy and satisfaction with a job well-done. And when the inevitable oops happens, the reaction is also believable: eyes shut tight, mouth a downward bow, and tears…unless it was a purposeful “crash-boom.” But Elephant is not one to give up easily, and they learn through play that one extra-long block, two rectangular blocks, four square blocks on their ends, and eight square blocks on their faces are all the same height. Chatterton’s illustrations combine collaged-in photos of real wooden blocks; an expressive blue cartoon elephant with a purple shirt, dot eyes, and rosy cheeks; and basic backgrounds—either white space or a yellow wall and green carpet separated by a white baseboard. Unlike many other math titles, there is no note to parents or teachers and no directions to kids—it’s just a simple tale of a child exploring with blocks.

Elephant’s pure joy in exploration and success are sure to be catching, so make sure the blocks are close at hand. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7827-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby.

BABY GOES TO MARKET

Baby is so charming that various vendors in this West African market gift him all sorts of yummies.

Baby rides on Mama’s back, held snug by a bright cloth wrap. Mama navigates the busy, colorful outdoor market, her woven basket balanced on her head. The text unrolls rhythmically in Atinuke’s storyteller’s voice: “Market is very crowded. Baby is very curious. Baby is so curious that Mrs. Ade, the banana seller, gives Baby six bananas.” Baby eats one and puts the remaining bananas in Mama’s basket. All the while Mama shops, unbeknownst to her, vendors continue to respond to Baby’s transparent delight with five oranges, four “sugary chin-chin biscuits,” three “roasted sweet corn,” and two pieces of coconut. With each delicacy given, Baby eats one and puts the rest in the basket. When Mama sees all the extra foodstuffs she didn’t buy, she’s concerned, until the vendors reassure her: “We gave those things to Baby!” In her debut picture book, Brooksbank offers bright, bustling tableaux of shoppers, vendors, and goods. The smiling, all-black cast sort through myriad wares, while the text keeps up its rhythm, introducing both typical items bought in a West African market and a gentle lesson in arithmetic as Baby alternately snacks on and stashes his gifts.

Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9570-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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