Cute and sprightly but not a standout.

MOO, BAA, FA LA LA LA LA!

Deck the stalls?

A bevy of barnyard animals, a cat, and some dogs get fully into the Christmas spirit by sprucing up the farm with colorful decorations, including holly berries and sparkling baubles. They have a great time and sing while going about their merry chores in a manner somewhat in keeping with the rhythm of the classic tune “Deck the Halls.” (In fact, a flock of sheep are shown holding song sheets for it.) As might be expected with these particular celebrants, some of the familiar lyrics are altered just a bit; for instance, “boughs of holly” is “translated” as “cows and holly.” Adult readers expecting the rhythm here to work exactly as it does in the original will be disappointed, because it doesn’t—it’s clunky. This is merely a brief, lightweight spoof of the familiar ditty, so it’s recommended that grown-ups read rather than sing this—except for that final line!—to very young targeted audiences, who may be unfamiliar with the actual song anyway. Some fun is still to be had in the illustrations, however. The spirited, wittily expressive animal characters are depicted having a fine time romping about and producing a variety of onomatopoeic sounds throughout. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Cute and sprightly but not a standout. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66591-435-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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An acceptable and sturdy addition to the Easter basket for baby bunnies deemed too young to handle Dorothy Kunhardt's more...

FIVE LITTLE BUNNIES

Following on the successful Five Little Pumpkins (2003), Yaccarino teams with Rabe for bunnies.

The five pastel bunnies are cute enough, and the rhymes are accurate, if somewhat wordy for toddlers. But without a clear one-to-one relationship between the words and the pictures, it is not always clear which bunny is speaking and what is being counted. The bunnies, identified as first, second, and so on, hop around the pages instead of staying in a consistent order as the rhyme implies. Naming them by color might have been a better choice, but that would mean abandoning the finger-play counting-rhyme formula. The children who show up to hunt the eggs are a multicultural cast of cartoonish figures with those in the background drawn as blue and green silhouettes. Though the text on the back cover invites children to count the eggs, there is no hint as to how many eggs they should find. Neither the verse nor the pictures provide counting assistance. The youngest children will not care about any of this; they will be content to point out the different colors of the bunnies and the patterns on the eggs.

An acceptable and sturdy addition to the Easter basket for baby bunnies deemed too young to handle Dorothy Kunhardt's more satisfying but fragile classic, Pat the Bunny. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-225339-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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