A+ for Big Ben earns only a C-.

READ REVIEW

A+ FOR BIG BEN

Ellis and LaFave’s charming Big Ben (2001) is adapted into a board-book format.

Parents of babies and toddlers will wonder why, as neither the text nor the subject matter (young Ben wants a report card, just like his older siblings) reflects the interests or concerns of the audience that board books are designed for. A preschooler like Ben, who is able to whistle and tie his own shoes, is also old enough to turn the pages of a regular picture book. Simple illustrations designed to emulate a preschooler's crayon drawings are not enough to make this text-heavy story appropriate for a toddler. These drawings, arranged on comfortable expanses of white space in the original book, are crammed into the smaller trim size. Imprecise language will confuse toddlers. For example, at one point the text reads, “Ben is too little to see.” Actually Ben can see just fine—he just can't see out the window.

A+ for Big Ben earns only a C-. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: July 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-927485-76-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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A terrific resource for fans of Daniel Tiger and newcomers alike.

WHAT TIME IS IT, DANIEL TIGER?

From the Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood series

Animated PBS character Daniel Tiger helps readers tell time.

Mr. Rogers–like (explicitly—the show is produced by the Fred Rogers Co.), Daniel Tiger welcomes his neighbors, inviting them to spend the day with him and learn to use a clock along the way. A large clock face with movable hands is accessible through a large, die-cut circle in the upper-right corner of each double-page spread. The hands click and clack as they’re moved around the clock’s face, and the sound is peculiarly satisfying. Each hand has a different noise, helping children to differentiate between the two. Daniel and his family and friends do lots of things throughout the day, including eating breakfast, going to school, running errands, eating dinner, and going to bed. The illustrations emulate the show’s rounded, calmly colored style. Fans of the television show will be entranced. Daniel’s constant engagement with readers will spawn busy interaction, and the fact that this book covers a whole day makes it an excellent read right before bed.

A terrific resource for fans of Daniel Tiger and newcomers alike. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6934-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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For a more successful ode to security objects, stick with Carol Thompson’s Blankies (2013).

MY BLANKIE

A youngster, likely a boy, demonstrates all the fun he can have with his security blanket. 

In various “let’s pretend” scenarios, he uses his blanket as a sail for a pirate ship, a tablecloth for a tea party or a cape for his “King of Rollerblading” costume. Each scene is depicted on one page with a simple first-person statement issued by the boy. The art, which looks to be a collage of paper, fabric and pencil drawings, is too small in scale for the trim size of this nearly 6 1/2–inch-square board book. Three unnamed characters—a bear, a rabbit and a penguin who are likely the boy’s favorite stuffed animals—help flesh out the scenes. The boy himself is amateurishly drawn at times, and the blanket, an unappealing yellowish brown with red polka dots, looks stiff and neither soft nor cozy. A couple of the scenes are likely to go over the heads of the intended toddler audience, particularly one in which the blanket is depicted standing (if a blanket can be said to be standing) at the top of an Olympics-style victory podium as the text reads: “My blankie is a Super Blankie!”

For a more successful ode to security objects, stick with Carol Thompson’s Blankies (2013). (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-927018-08-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Simply Read

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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