Busy indeed! Board-book readers will tear this book up—but not in a good way.


From the Touch and Explore series

Turn the textured tabs to follow a blue dinosaur from sunup to bedtime.

Each spread offers a four-line verse that describes the action of Dino and three more cartoon dinosaur pals. The verse doesn’t always trip off the tongue: “Run and chase. / Then eat some lunch. / Tasty leaves! / Crunch, chomp, munch!” Other, mostly predictable rhymes include “day” and “play”; “wash” and “splosh”; “fruit” and “cute”; and “bed” and “head.” Bold, bright colors are layered to create fanciful background scenery and illustrate Dino’s actions. Peach-colored mountains drip with sherbet-hued snow. Each spread includes a colored dot with the instruction: “Feel the tab and find the same pattern on the page.” Initially this seems straightforward. The first padded fabric tab is blue with bumpy teal spots, like Dino’s back. On the second spread, both the first and second tabs are visible, and each can be matched with a pattern on the page. But the second pattern is not included on the third spread, and the fish scales meant to match the shiny silver third tab are tiny—or are readers supposed to be looking at the similarly patterned droplets of water? Though the tabs are tactile, the matching elements to be found in the illustrations are not, so there is nothing to match by “feel.” Toddlers will just grab the glued-in tabs, destroying the book and creating potential choke hazards in the process.

Busy indeed! Board-book readers will tear this book up—but not in a good way. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-64568-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.


Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Wonderful, indeed

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A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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