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There's more than just “choo-choo” along this track.

Eight different trains capture attention with their dramatic sounds. The engines (from the freight to the diesel) exude an exuberant variety of “bings,” “wo woos” and “zoooshes” as their speed intensifies. Onomatopoeia distinguishes one example from the next; the old steam train “toots” along while the big steam train “chuggas” with a vengeance. For all the apparently straightforward approach, Light indulges in some sly whimsy, too. Echoing the Billy Goats Gruff and repeating for emphasis, the “mountain train goes, / TRIP TRAP FUFF PUFF / TRIP TRAP FUFF PUFF / TRIP TRAP FUFF PUFF/ TRIP TRAP FUFF PUFF!” The elongated pages allow each train to stretch out magisterially. People take a back seat to the machines; the occasional conductor remains a distant and darkened figure. Variations in font accent each pointed syllable. Frantic lines push the cars to a formidable speed, and loose watercolor splashes explode with visual intensity. Sheer, fabulous power. (Board book. 1-3)  


Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8118-7942-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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A perfect piece of treasure it is not, but shiver me timbers, it’s fun.

Two pirates and their parrot companion embark on adventures to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Following Car, Car, Truck, Jeep (2018), Charman and Sharratt team up again for this swashbuckling, musical tale. The two buccaneers and their parrot spend a day at sea engaged in such maritime activities as scrubbing the deck and hoisting the sail along with quintessentially piratical chores like digging up buried treasure. At the end of the day—which culminates in a nonviolent walk across the plank—the two pirates return home. Charman’s rhyming text has a nice cadence, and thanks to the cover note to sing along to the tune of “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat,” it moves along at a nice clip. For the most part, the rhymes work neatly into the tune so that it reads easily the first time through. Sharratt’s black-outlined illustrations are boldly colored and eye-catching. The pirates themselves are not obviously gendered; one presents white and the other has light-brown skin. Most of the ocean creatures have anthropomorphized features—a mostly successful choice with the exception of the jellyfish and octopus, shown awkwardly with humanlike noses and smiles (and, oddly, eyebrows for the octopus). Overall, this one holds high appeal for little readers, and the nature of the singsong-y, rhyming text will make it a highly requested reread.

A perfect piece of treasure it is not, but shiver me timbers, it’s fun. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0319-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Short, sweet, and engaging; a sing-along introduction to furry first responders.

“The Wheels on the Bus” gets an extra syllable, a siren, a hose, and a snazzy new ladder.

This variation on the popular children’s song should hit the spot with budding truck aficionados among the diapered set. The text is a straight adaptation of “The Wheels on the Bus,” with firetruck and firefighting themes replacing the sights and sounds of a bus rider’s commute. The siren goes “Woo-woo-woo,” the lights go “Flash, flash, flash,” the riders “hold on tight,” the ladder goes “up, up, up,” and the hose, of course, goes “swish-swish-swish—now, the fire’s out.” The book won’t win awards for originality, but it should be a toddler pleaser. The colors on the cover are an explosion of reflective red foil against a bright yellow background; the interior colors are more muted but still bright and cheery. The firefighters and onlookers are anthropomorphic animals in firefighter costume or civvies, as the case may be. Characters include a racoon, some bunnies, a fox, and a woodchuck, among others, all rendered in an accessible, cartoony style. Between the bright colors and the smiling gameness of the furry firefighters, the proceedings should excite and delight most tots. 

Short, sweet, and engaging; a sing-along introduction to furry first responders. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4244-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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