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From the Skip series , Vol. 1

Suffices as a very basic introduction to colors, but there are better concept books around.

Kids learn color basics with a cute kitty.

As Skip helps Grandpa with chores in the garden, readers discover colors. When Skip gets wet watering the plants, the text mentions his yellow raincoat. Later, he fills the birdhouse with food and discovers a robin with a red tummy. Four other hues—blue, green, purple, and orange—are similarly spotlighted. On each spread, the name of the color being highlighted appears within an icon shaped like a cat’s head. Later, Skip and Grandpa visit the flower garden, and Grandpa suggests that Skip pick a bouquet of blossoms for Grandma featuring “all the colors of the rainbow.” In this uncredited translation from Dutch, this very simple tale conveys its fundamental concepts in a sweet, though bland manner. The illustrations are lively; protagonists’ facial expressions are appealing. Note some missteps: To introduce blue, Skip is depicted looking up at the sky; right after, he’s seen learning about purple as he eats blueberries and gets purple juice all over his mouth—a potentially confusing moment, given the berry’s association with the word blue. Also, the bouquet that Skip picks doesn’t actually contain all the colors of the rainbow, as a rainbow has seven colors, one of which—indigo, separate from purple (violet, in an actual rainbow)—isn’t represented here. At book’s end, Skip introduces additional colors, some familiar, some less so. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Suffices as a very basic introduction to colors, but there are better concept books around. (Concept book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-60537-752-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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