Flawed ending aside, it’s an admirable first effort.

THE WORLD OF SAM

A well-balanced interactive story chronicles the life of a whimsical little pig.

In the opening scene of this sweet tale, Sam is rifling through his mother’s purse. Much like a clown car at the circus, the bag appears to have no bottom, and Sam keeps pulling items out of it as long as readers keep tapping him. The other 19 pages offer similar interactions, all of which offer clues about what makes Sam unique. He likes to read and sleep in on Sunday mornings, and he insists on kicking a soccer ball around the house (the last activity eventually results in a “cracked” tablet screen). Of particular interest is his affinity for playing dress-up in women’s clothing and his love of dance; both Sam and his parents seem completely and refreshingly comfortable eschewing gender stereotypes. Illustrations are soft, uncluttered and washed in muted colors, an approach that leaves room for the straightforward interactions and the story itself. Each page has a distinctive audio presentation (music/sound effects) and can be narrated or read in English, French or Russian. The only negative is that the story ends abruptly. Readers will likely look for a way to turn the page, as there’s no visual or textual signal that the story is over.

Flawed ending aside, it’s an admirable first effort. (iPad storybook app, 18 mos.-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Avant-Gout Studios

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

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

Did you like this book?

Wonderful, indeed

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

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

Did you like this book?

more