Delightful—pounce on it! (Board book. 1-4)


A playful and kinetic assemblage of animals.

As the title implies, this volume celebrates the act of jumping, as demonstrated by nine different types of animals. A simple and elegant whimsy underlies every aspect of the book, beginning with the practical conceit of reorienting the book by 90 degrees. After each animal is introduced (“A frog jumps,” for example), an upward flip of the page reveals a picture of it vaulting skyward. Author Matsuoka has won picture-book, science-book, and children’s-book awards in his native Japan, and it’s easy to see why. The creatures in this book have a cartoonish degree of personality. The big-eyed frog, for example, smiles softly in a lazy squat; in midflight, it has a proportional, fat-bellied, anatomical correctness. The grasshopper is another striking and even startling example, all legs and head in the first picture, then legs, body, and wings fully extended midleap. Apart from lines implying upward movement, there’s a beautiful static quality to these snapshots of motion. Each jump is accompanied by a vibrant “BOING!” (or “Boi-oi-oi-oi-oing!” as the case may be), which makes for read-aloud fun for caregiver and child alike. Snails, readers learn, are predictably poor jumpers. “And I jump, too,” announces the young, Asian-presenting child who executes the final leap, placing humans in context within the animal kingdom.

Delightful—pounce on it! (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77657-231-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.


One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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