From the Little Kids First Board Book series

Attractive and generally useful but quickly parked on the bookshelf.

Sturdy pages and large pictures should be a hit for toddlers on the go.

The cover photo of a red sports car promises excitement. Inside, stock photos of readily recognized vehicles invite youngsters to imagine themselves in the drivers’ seats. (Drivers, when shown, wear appropriate safety gear.) Each double-page spread includes a picture of one vehicle; most are on just one page, but the fire engine, passenger train, helicopter, and single-engine airplane pictures span their spreads. Choosing just 11 vehicles to represent all “things that go” leads to some rather specific choices: a double-decker bus, a snowmobile, and hot air balloon. The likelihood of a young child seeing a logging truck is slim outside of logging country, though other types of “tractor trailers” crowd highways all over. The name of each vehicle is printed in contrasting type within one descriptive sentence: “The motorcycle roars down the road.” Another factoid is highlighted in a yellow dot: “Wheels roll to make things go. Motorcycles have two wheels.” Snarky asides (“I never tire”) in white speech bubbles may keep the attention of adult readers but will only distract toddlers. Little kids won’t get the jokes, nor will they sit still for the four-question quiz on the final spread.

Attractive and generally useful but quickly parked on the bookshelf. (Numbered pages) (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3698-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020


The lack of real excitement will make these helpers fade from memory like sirens on a distant road.

Part emergency adventure, part reassurance that help is on the way—youngsters fascinated by vehicles with sirens will be attracted to this board book.

Straightforward, declarative text and fanciful, somewhat futuristic pictures describe “a big beautiful world, filled with awesome adventures.” The second spread previews the helpers and their vehicles with profile views of six types of vehicles against a clean white background. The final spread shows front views of the same six rescue vehicles. In between, spreads focus on three different emergencies. In a busy spread headlined “Uh-oh, an accident,” readers see a police car, an ambulance, and a tow truck, while a police helicopter hovers overhead. “Uh-oh, a storm!” shows the water-based versions of emergency vehicles against a rain-gray background. “Uh-oh, a fire!” focuses on firefighters, with police and EMTs playing supporting roles. All the vehicles are staffed by smiling animal characters reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s Busytown creatures but without the whimsy of those classics. The final text proclaims that “helpers…are the ones who save the world.” The wordy text and detailed pictures make this board book most suited for older toddlers intrigued by emergency vehicles, but the placid delivery is out of sync with the notion that the depicted world is in peril.

The lack of real excitement will make these helpers fade from memory like sirens on a distant road. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0599-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018


From the I Can Learn! series

A disappointing twist on a popular theme. More gimmick than engaging.

This noisy board book is designed to thrill tots fascinated with all things construction.

A tactile backhoe digger is center stage on each of the five cutout pages, complete with flaps. Brief rhyming text describes the machine’s actions as it works throughout the day. Animal characters engaged in manual labor or operating other machinery—a bulldozer, crane, road roller, and dump truck—describe more work that goes on at a construction site in small speech bubbles. Finding the mouse in every scene adds to the fun. On each page, a little bird sporting a hard hat invites young builders to press various parts of the silicone digger to activate a range of distinct sounds. The digger’s track pad sounds different from the sound of its arm moving dirt. The problem is that the digger itself is passive; the track pad and arm don’t actually move. The machine stays in the same place on every spread. The caution light beeps but doesn’t light up. Savvy kids will quickly realize that all the sounds are accessible from the first spread without having to turn the pages. The sound is the most engaging part of the book, but with only five sounds, this feature won’t hold most youngsters’ attention for long.

A disappointing twist on a popular theme. More gimmick than engaging. (Novelty board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-684-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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