The book’s heart is in the right place, but its execution serves neither subject nor audience even adequately.

READ REVIEW

IF I WERE A WHALE

Rhyming text introduces youngsters to a smattering of whales.

Unfortunately, it’s not particularly good rhyme, nor are the whales introduced with enough context to make the information meaningful to a toddler audience. “I might be a gray whale with barnacles on my chin / Or a sleek, slender fin whale. Think how fast I’d swim.” To these bloodless rhymes are paired equally anemic watercolor illustrations. The nature of whale coloration and their marine habitat combine for spreads that are dominated by grays and pale blues, the lack of contrast making for a singularly uncompelling visual experience. Weeds and other sea life add some mild pops of color, but they are so watery they don’t make much of an impression. In addition to the aforementioned gray and fin whales, Gill packs an impressive number of whale species in: minke, beluga, pilot, blue, beaked, orca, humpback, and—“Narwhals have tusks. Tusks might come in handy. / Right whales sail with their tails. Wouldn’t that be dandy?” Ouch.

The book’s heart is in the right place, but its execution serves neither subject nor audience even adequately. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63217-104-7

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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