I CAN SAY PLEASE

An Australian import tackles manners for the very young.

A little girl takes her stuffed cat and rabbit, along with her pet hedgehog, on an idyllic picnic. Each double-page spread sets up a statement or question (“Would you like to hold my hand?") that advances the day's events with an accompanied, expected answer ("Yes, please!"). Brief phrases in direct, appropriate language serve each natural page turn. Though the "Yes, please!" response never changes, the toys and youngster take turns directing and accepting requests. A soft sweetness—there's no hint of saccharine—nurtures the child's maturing independence as she organizes the festivities with absolutely no adult involvement (or any conflict to be seen). Respectful conversations between the preschooler and her friends appear fresh and unforced. The playthings' full-force involvement sets the creative stage; her dressed pals rifle through the basket, nibble on sandwiches and dip their toes in the water. Minimal backgrounds and pastel borders keep the focus on the action at hand. Slight alterations to facial expressions highlight a quiet reflection. A companion piece, I Can Say Thank You, follows a similar route as the friends explore their surroundings.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-61067-037-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Sure to prompt little fingers into joyful action.

TICKLE TIME!

A favorite baby-and-toddler activity receives an upbeat celebration that will get those fingers going. Watch out!

The gang of frazzled felines that populate this outing are truly the cat's meow. Based on Boynton's song of the same title, the text is reproduced in a colored, patterned font that amps the energy right up. A forlorn little kitty, paws clasped in front of his body, appears anxious (though slightly intrigued) when a trio of toms encourages him to join in the fun. “Gitchy-gitchy / Goo Gotta / Ready, Set, Go!” It doesn't take long before the cautious cat jumps in on this chorus line with dramatic leaps and fluttering fingers. A little birdie acts as a square-dance caller, enunciating each beat (“Goo bop. / Gitchy-goo bop”). The shaggy, large-nosed felines are tremendously expressive in their synchronized movements and maintain a rollicking pace. “We can tickle high. / We can tickle low. / We can tickle QUICKQUICKQUICK / as fast as we can go!” (Here, the page is filled with iterations of "gitchy gitchy gitchy" in different colors.) At the end, the gang sprawls on the floor, exhausted, after a truly monumental tickle-fest.

Sure to prompt little fingers into joyful action. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7611-6883-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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