As the book opens, paper engineering animates a variety of vehicles on the page.
A race car moves ahead of its competitor, a digger’s shovel lifts, a boat crests a wave, a train emerges from a tunnel, and a rocket zooms through space. Abbott’s bold-outlined cartoons in highly saturated colors give the book a playfully busy energy. The almost unnecessary text captions the action (“The racecar whizzes past”) and includes one question per scene to engage readers (“What shape are the wheels?”). The companion title, Pop and Play: Zoo Animals (978-0-7534-7163-0), features wild critters and includes the same page-animating pop-ups: A monkey swings through a jungle, a tiger peeks out from behind a tree, penguins slide on the ice, and more. As in the first book, the childlike art is more appealing than the workmanlike text. Each one-sentence description of the action is accompanied by simple questions or invitations to count on every double-page spread—except, inexplicably, the panda’s. The direction to count the 16 teeth on the crocodile will prove daunting to many toddlers.
Despite these quibbles, both books are likable and affordable starter pop-ups. (Pop-up/board book. 2-4)