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ROCKET'S MIGHTY WORDS

From the Rocket series

Nothing really new here, but Rocket fans—at least those who don’t consider themselves too old for board books—may enjoy...

Hills’ adorable black-and-white spotted dog named Rocket (How Rocket Learned to Read, 2010; Rocket Writes a Story, 2012) returns in this oversized vocabulary primer.

There’s no narrative to speak of here; this is a simple introduction to words for new readers. Children are first introduced to terms such as “dog,” “tail,” ear” and “spot” as they are printed on and around an iconic image of Rocket, running blissfully along with head thrown back, eyes closed and stick clutched firmly in his jaws. A spread featuring vignettes of Rocket in action presents verbs such as “wag,” “dig,” “sniff” and “nap.” Two spreads are painted to resemble giant chalkboards covered with nouns and simple drawings representing each one, while the final pages feature Rocket’s little yellow bird friend and a set of sight words on notecards scattered across a meadow. Many of the charming images will be familiar to readers, as they have appeared before, in part or whole, in other Rocket adventures.

Nothing really new here, but Rocket fans—at least those who don’t consider themselves too old for board books—may enjoy using this as a tool for practicing word recognition with the sweet puppy they’ve come to love. (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-37233-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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DIGGERSAURS

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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HEY, DUCK!

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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