Appealing fare for young animal lovers.

BABY ANIMALS

A simple lift-the-flap teaches little ones the names of animals and their offspring.

As in companion title First Words (2014), there’s no narrative to speak of, just an easy guessing game. Each page has a big, bold image with "Who is my mommy?" written above it. Readers are encouraged to name the critters before lifting the sturdy, notched flap revealing the answer. Under the flap with a kitten on it, readers find a mother cat licking her kitten; the answer is phrased, "My mommy is a cat. I am a kitten." Other animals pictured are two foals (a horse and a zebra), a lion cub, an elephant calf, a puppy, a lamb, a panda cub, a giraffe calf and a duckling. Publishing simultaneously in the baby-animal vein are two My First Touch and Feel titles, Kittens and Puppies. Children can pat the kittens’ “fluffy fur,” feel its “soft tongue” (readers with actual cats in the house will find this and the kitten on the next page wearing a “smooth bow” inexplicable), and touch its “fuzzy ball of yarn.” The puppies’ tactile items are more in keeping with actual doggy properties.

Appealing fare for young animal lovers. (Board book. 6 mos.-18 mos.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58925-624-8

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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