Although the book’s production quality leaves something to be desired, toddlers will adore helping out their new animal...

PET THE PETS

A LIFT-THE-FLAP BOOK

A collection of needy pets “all feel better” with a little help from their child reader friends.

It’s a rough day to be a pet! There’s an animal in mild crisis on each double-page spread. Poor kitty’s yarn is a total mess. But never fear! Youngsters are told exactly how to touch the page (“swirl the yarn to wind it”), and with a gratifying lift of the flap, the kitten is now snuggling a “nice and neat” ball of wool. A direct address from the pet praising readers for the assistance that “saved the day!” taps perfectly into a toddler’s deep desire to help. Among the instructions are a wide variety of ways to interact with pages, and while some, such as “open,” and “push,” will be familiar, others such as “pat” and “pinch” may build vocabulary. (These activities are mostly imaginary, as the physical interactions are confined to lifting flaps.) With their sketchily drawn bodies, the cartoonlike pets aren’t the cutest critters on the block, but it’s a genuine pleasure to watch pleading eyes and drooping bodies transform into perky, effervescent animals. If the concept is a sweet surprise, the book itself is not. The dots of its halftone printing are distractingly apparent, and several of the curved, not-particularly-substantial flaps catch and crease. Additionally, flaps and backgrounds share the same deeply saturated colors, making the flaps’ edges frustratingly difficult to find.

Although the book’s production quality leaves something to be desired, toddlers will adore helping out their new animal buddies. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0939-2

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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