Such a heavyweight for such a light little book—delightful.

SO LIGHT, SO HEAVY

The teeter-totter won’t tip no matter how many animals are on it. What will it take to make the teeter-totter tip?

An elephant stands on one end of a teeter-totter, hoping to play, but the other end is empty, so it doesn’t tip. One by one, a number of animals climb on: a penguin, a monkey, an ostrich, and a giraffe. And still the teeter-totter won’t tip. “Elephant is so heavy,” and the other animals “are so light.” Even when a hippopotamus climbs on it doesn’t tip—now both sides are equally weighted. A humorous and unexpected solution comes along in the shape of a trumpet-blowing blond, white child pulling along a sauropod on a leash. Standing against an azure blue background, the vivid red teeter-totter takes center stage, its fulcrum aligned with the gutter. The animals are simply drawn yet wonderfully expressive, and their antics on the teeter-totter are downright comical. This English translation from the original German is full of alliteration and onomatopoeic sounds—“ZOOP!”; “ZIPPITY ZAP!”; “TIPPY TOPPY TIP TAP!”—making it a read-aloud delight. Adult readers can encourage animal recognition and naming, prediction, or even a discussion on teamwork and physics.

Such a heavyweight for such a light little book—delightful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-849-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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The novelty of the fold-out train is really what keeps readers chugging along.

CHRISTMAS TRAIN

A Christmas counting adventure on a fold-out board-book train.

There are 20 different holiday items on this particular train, which folds out to a whopping 56 inches. A little clumsy to manipulate, the folding feature allows readers either to spread the book out across the floor or to hold it for a lap reading. The rhyming text gives the book a nice pace, with alliteration and rich vocabulary: “3 Christmas trees, sparkling spruce and pine. / 4 paper packages tied with festive twine.” Though the text is for the most part well done, readers will note that one phrase just doesn’t make sense: “10 shining stars, silent watches gleaming.” The crisp illustrations are full of bright colors with some nice details, like stained glass on a tiny church window and a little rooster weathervane atop a house. Beyond the wheels, the train cars don’t really resemble the real deal. Instead, the focus is on the countable items, helping readers succeed in the challenge of numbers beyond 10. It can be a challenge: “19 children nice as can be” are difficult to count, as the children are represented by small lines on a long and twisty list (presumably Santa’s). As a holiday-themed book with a gimmick, this one succeeds, with nice-enough text and illustrations.

The novelty of the fold-out train is really what keeps readers chugging along. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64170-165-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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