A lesson in the joys of books and the impermanence of things.

MY FIRST TOUCH, FEEL, AND PLAY!

Tactile gimmicks invite handling that this generally sweet book may not withstand.

The thick covers of this interactive board book are quite indestructible, and the pages are sturdy as well, but the many peekaboo flaps—three flaps per double-page scenario—practically beg little hands to tear them from the book. Caregivers, therefore, may want to supervise very young readers whose enthusiasm may outpace their fine-motor skills. Still, there is plenty here to engage and entertain young children. Holes and cutaway patterns encourage children to trace shapes within the pictures. Swatches of fur, spongy rubber, and colorful, metallic fabrics offer several textures to explore. Friendly animals populate five different settings—playroom, park, reading room, beach, and party—featuring many familiar items and new vocabulary words as well. Then there are those flaps. Every baby’s favorite game, peekaboo, becomes a motif as questions asked or implied are answered with a simple flip of a flap. Who’s on stage? Rip away—that is, fold back—the curtain flap. It’s Elephant! Who’s in the box? Tear off—er, lift—the lid to find Bunny Rabbit. What’s squeaking? Yank off—pardon, fold over—the hat-shaped flap. Mouse was underneath it! Kids young enough to damage this book may not recognize the damage. Older children, though, could end up tearful if their favorite peekaboo scene is ruined. Nevertheless, the book demands to be handled.

A lesson in the joys of books and the impermanence of things. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68010-533-9

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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