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From the Wee Gallery series

Hours of amusement for budding Beethovens.

Brief but noisy fun in this “press and listen” introduction to musical instruments for tots.

A piano-playing penguin, a trumpet-tooting bear, a twanging tiger with a guitar, and a drum kit–bashing bunny make beautiful music in this charming, interactive board book. This simple primer hits the right notes, featuring four instruments with their corresponding sounds, four types of animals, and a variety of colorfully descriptive musical sound effects—plinks, twangs, and crashes, to name a few. The illustrations are delightful: simple, bold, and kinetic, all creatures invested with abundant personality as they bang away on their respective instruments. The recto of each double-page spread includes a tab containing an easily activated button that, when pressed, plays a few representative bars of music played on the instrument depicted on those pages. The built-in sound feature should fascinate young readers. At the same time, caregivers will no doubt appreciate the small but easy-to-find on/off switch on the back of the book. The final spread shows the animals playing together as a band: “All together now…make some noise!” Unfortunately, the final button merely repeats the instruments individually instead of playing an ensemble song as the title and illustration imply. Despite this missed opportunity to illustrate song composition, this tuneful tome should engage and entertain.

Hours of amusement for budding Beethovens. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68297-210-6

Page Count: 8

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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From the Look & Learn series

Clear nonfiction for the very young is hard to come by, and it appears that the Look & Learn series may finally be on...

An exploration of the human body through colorful photos.

Every other double-page spread labels the individual parts on one major area: head, torso, back, arm and leg. Ethnically diverse boy-girl pairs serve as models as arrows point to specific features and captions float nearby. While the book usefully mentions rarely depicted body parts, such as eyebrow, armpit and shin, some of the directional arrows are unclear. The arrow pointing at a girl’s shoulder hits her in the upper arm, and the belly button is hard is distinguish from the stomach (both are concealed by shirts). Facts about the human body (“Guess what? You have tiny hairs in your nose that keep out dirt”) appear on alternating spreads along with photos of kids in action. Baby Animals, another title in the Look & Learn series, uses an identical format to introduce readers to seal pups, leopard cubs, elephant calves, ducklings and tadpoles. In both titles, the final spread offers a review of the information and encourages readers to match baby animals to their parents or find body parts on a photo of kids jumping on a trampoline.

Clear nonfiction for the very young is hard to come by, and it appears that the Look & Learn series may finally be on the right track despite earlier titles that were much too conceptual for the audience. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4263-1483-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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