HA-HA! MADE YOU LAUGH!

Expect plenty of “HA-HA!”s in the home.

Endearingly goofy illustrations and interactive surprises should guarantee giggles for toddlers and caregivers alike.

This book involves young readers in several ways: with invitations to children to make funny faces and stick out their tongues, scratch, tap, or blow kisses, and with flaps that lift to reveal surprise pictures and punchlines (some funny, some eh), each preceded by a bold and hearty “HA-HA!” Whether or not caregivers find any particular setup and denouement uproarious, there’s more than enough going on here to maintain their toddlers’ infectious enthusiasm and laughter, making this a fun shared read. The illustrations are simple, uncluttered, bright, and colorful, depicting a variety of silly and expressive animal characters. The “HA-HA!” format means the jokes are on readers, who presumably encounter the unexpected (and mostly comical) beneath each flap. More-cynical readers might wonder if this book, though good-natured in intent, is the kindergarten version of “Teasing 101.” It’s hard for adults not to hear “HA-HA! Made you look!” and a number of other “HA-HA!” taunts in their heads while reading aloud. Of course, preparing children for the inevitable is perhaps not a bad thing; it could even prompt a conversation about knowing when kidding or teasing is lighthearted and funny and when it’s not.

Expect plenty of “HA-HA!”s in the home. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-795-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

IN THE WIND

A gentle outing for children who are ready for stories of everyday life rather than just objects to name.

A brief rhyming board book for toddlers.

Spurr's earlier board books (In the Garden and At the Beach, both 2012; In the Woods, 2013) featured an adventuresome little boy. Her new slice-of-life story stars an equally joyful little girl who takes pleasure in flying a new kite while not venturing far off the walkway. Oliphant's expressive and light-filled watercolors clearly depict the child's emotions—eager excitement on the way to the park, delight at the kite's flight in the wind, shock when the kite breaks free, dejection, and finally relief and amazement. The rhymes work, though uneven syllable counts in some stanzas interrupt the smooth flow of the verse. The illustrations depict the child with her mass of windblown curls, brown skin, and pronounced facial features as African-American. Her guardian (presumably her mother) is also brown-skinned. It is refreshing to see an African-American family settled comfortably in a suburban setting with single-family homes and a park where the family dog does not need to be leashed.

A gentle outing for children who are ready for stories of everyday life rather than just objects to name. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56145-854-7

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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