This act needs a little more work.

READ REVIEW

THE WORLD-FAMOUS BOOK OF COUNTING

A pop-up magic show featuring numbers one to 10…plus an extra.

One male “master magician” introduces two female “glamorous assistants” in midriff-bearing tops and harem pants (all three are white). The book goes on to reveal three balls, four flying doves, five scarves, six bunnies, and so on up, with help from large, sturdy flaps, pull tabs, and pop-up cutouts. Though not much for continuity (the woman’s hand flourishing “nine linking rings” emerges from a ruffled cuff, which neither “assistant” sports), Goodreau offers very simply drawn illustrations in which all the items are easy to see and count. Following the doves, bunnies, and assistants taking bows in a 3-D scene, a final view of a seemingly empty stage with a “0” and (oddly) “None” gives way with the flip of a flap to the magician expressing a hope that the audience enjoyed the show. Diapered digerati will applaud, at least on the first run-through—though they’ll more than likely be thrown off by the confusingly labeled and atypically placed zero. The fact that three of the assistants’ four hands appear to be attached backward in the climactic tableau will creep out their grown-ups.

This act needs a little more work. (Pop-up picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9894-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard.

THE WIND PLAYS TRICKS

When a fierce wind descends on the barnyard, the animals hear some odd noises…and they’re coming from their own mouths.

The sudden wind unsettles all the animals on the farm just when they should be getting ready for sleep. Instead, they anxiously “cheep” and “cluck” and “oink” and “quack” and “moooo.” They shift nervously, pull together, and make all sorts of noises. All except Turtle, who tucks into his shell under an old log and sleeps. In the morning, though, the animals get a surprise. Pig says, “Cluck”; the Little Chicks say, “Neigh”; Horse crows, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.” How will they get their proper sounds back? Turtle has an idea, and he enjoys the process so much that he decides to open his mouth the next time the wind plays tricks at the farm: Perhaps he’ll catch a sound all his own. Chua’s cartoon barnyard is bright, and her animals, expressive, their faces and body language slightly anthropomorphized. The edges of the figures sometimes betray their digital origins. Though the tale is humorous and will give lots of opportunity for practicing animal sounds, the audience is hard to pin down, as the young children sure to enjoy mooing and clucking may not have the patience to sit through the somewhat lengthy text.

For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8735-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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