Slight? Right. But fun? A ton! (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

READ REVIEW

CREATURE VS. TEACHER

A BOOK OF RHYME

Even the most studious kids know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

This visually arresting, rhymed board book may be a quick read, but it says a lot with few words: roughly one word per page, in fact. Caregivers will recognize the setup immediately—a day in the life of the eponymous Teacher, a bespectacled kid in a lab coat with fuchsia, Einstein-esque hair, poring over formulae and experiments, and the Creature, a playful, green colossus that looks like a friendly version of Frankenstein’s monster. The stylized, colorful illustrations propel the story, told in rhymed couplets presented over a series of two-page vignettes. “Book,” reads a drawing of the Teacher, head buried in a tome. “Look!” yells the Creature, while showing off their juggling skills. Unfortunately, their efforts go unnoticed. Similarly, when the Creature invites the Teacher to go fly a “kite,” it never breaks the latter’s concentration; the Teacher continues feverishly to “write.” When the ever hopeful Creature suggests, “Dance,” though, the Teacher gives a glance and finally decides a recreation break is in order. Four scenes of silliness and play follow, at the end of which the Creature must “rest” while the Teacher picks up the book again. The rhyming text is a great way to get kids experimenting with sounds, and the playful, cool artwork suits the themes perfectly.

Slight? Right. But fun? A ton! (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3155-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A happily multisensory exploration.

NOISY FARM

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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