Three cheers for 3: hip-hip hooray! (Picture book. 2-4)

YOU ARE THREE

From the You Are series

O’Leary and Klassen’s third installment in their picture-book series about early childhood ages and stages is every bit as delightful as its predecessors, You Are One and You Are Two (both 2016).

A cupcake with three candles greets readers on the title page and provides a celebratory entrance into the book proper. Ensuing pages include mixed-media illustrations that show diverse young children engaged in various activities, the varying perspectives and eye-catching patterns and textures providing ample visual interest. “Three is a busy age, and you are the busiest of bees” reads the text accompanying a picture of a light-skinned girl with fair hair digging with a trowel while an adult with a watering can stands to the side. Other spreads show less-physical, more-contemplative moments in children’s lives, and relationships with other people are also highlighted in various spreads. Throughout, children’s growing independence is honored rather than mourned, and the direct address of the second-person text displays an abundance of respect and joy in their growing autonomy: “You are still our baby but you are also your own person. We love to hold you close and we love to watch you run.”

Three cheers for 3: hip-hip hooray! (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77147-074-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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The novelty of the fold-out train is really what keeps readers chugging along.

CHRISTMAS TRAIN

A Christmas counting adventure on a fold-out board-book train.

There are 20 different holiday items on this particular train, which folds out to a whopping 56 inches. A little clumsy to manipulate, the folding feature allows readers either to spread the book out across the floor or to hold it for a lap reading. The rhyming text gives the book a nice pace, with alliteration and rich vocabulary: “3 Christmas trees, sparkling spruce and pine. / 4 paper packages tied with festive twine.” Though the text is for the most part well done, readers will note that one phrase just doesn’t make sense: “10 shining stars, silent watches gleaming.” The crisp illustrations are full of bright colors with some nice details, like stained glass on a tiny church window and a little rooster weathervane atop a house. Beyond the wheels, the train cars don’t really resemble the real deal. Instead, the focus is on the countable items, helping readers succeed in the challenge of numbers beyond 10. It can be a challenge: “19 children nice as can be” are difficult to count, as the children are represented by small lines on a long and twisty list (presumably Santa’s). As a holiday-themed book with a gimmick, this one succeeds, with nice-enough text and illustrations.

The novelty of the fold-out train is really what keeps readers chugging along. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64170-165-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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