TRAINS GO

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 30, 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.

GO, GO, PIRATE BOAT

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. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Sure to inspire calls of “READ IT AGAIN!” (Board book. 1-3)

BUILDABLOCK

From the Block Books series

A chunky board book with ingenious gatefolds, flaps, die-cuts, and construction trucks galore.

Like its series predecessors, this title has ample toddler appeal. Not only is its construction-site theme a passion for many children, its bold colors and thoughtful design will engage little hands and eyes as they pore over the pages. After the first two spreads show a wrecking ball smashing and crashing to open the book, two children peer out, asking, “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?” and “CAN I LOOK, TOO?” Their pages open up as side-by-side gatefolds to reveal a vast scene with “SO MANY TRUCKS! SO MANY WORKERS!” Subsequent spreads home in on individual vehicles plied by racially diverse workers and their respective roles in building up a city block. Layout includes gatefolds that open vertically up and down as well as horizontally left and right, and many pages are shaped to visually echo the vehicles and objects depicted. While such familiar fare as a bulldozer, dump truck, and a crane appear, less-common vehicles and equipment emerge as well, with some of the more dramatic gatefolds and die-cuts revealing a tunnel borer, a massive bridge builder that spans valleys, and sky cranes hovering above like superpowered helicopters. The book culminates as workers take a lunch break and then throw themselves back into work to “BUILD, BUILD, BUILD ALL OVER TOWN!”

Sure to inspire calls of “READ IT AGAIN!” (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2569-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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