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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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...


Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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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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