The user instructions on the cover of this board book are simple: “Read, Hi-Five, Repeat.”
Black-lined cartoon images of 12 different animals holding out various appendages for readers to slap are accompanied by rhyming invitations to play this greeting game. Burach assumes, probably correctly, that toddlers already know how to give a high-five, but any who don’t will soon. His rhymes work: “STOMP YOUR FEET! / Hi-five a trunk! // Hold your nose. Hi-five a skunk!” But they introduce vocabulary that many toddlers may not yet possess, as in an elephant’s “trunk,” so caregivers will need to be ready to help interpret. Sometimes meaning becomes lost in the cleverness, as with “Belly slide, flipper flap! / Round the back, polar clap!” This rhyme is paired with a stylized penguin and an extremely abstract polar bear that’s positioned back to, holding its paw behind its back. Each animal has googly eyes, and usually one wing, paw, or fin is extra-large to make a target. The exaggerated appendages that facilitate the game also make the animals look out of proportion and even less like the real thing. The book’s sturdy construction and extra-thick pages will survive the repeated rough handling it invites.
Burach earns a fist bump if not an actual high-five. (Board book. 2-4)