WALTER'S WONDERFUL WEB

Not the strongest choice in terms of either shape learning or reflecting nature; still, this may get readers outside in...

A spider with no talent for making traditional spider webs teaches young children about shapes as well as perseverance.

Walter’s “wibbly-wobbly” webs are always blowing away in the wind; he can’t seem to manage the perfect spider webs his friends weave. One day, he decides he will manage to make a web that doesn’t blow away. In turn, he spins webs in the shape of a triangle, a square, a rectangle, a diamond, and a circle. All blow away. Discouraged, Walter’s almost ready to give up. But then he thinks back on all the shapes he’s spun and realizes what the perfect web would look like. While his ultimate web is more fantasy than a reflection of real spiders’ work, it does provide good practice for young children in pointing out the various shapes that make it up. A final spread asks readers to identify the five shapes and count their sides. Hopgood’s spider is a delightful black scribbled ball with eight legs, tall oval eyes, and a simple upturned-line mouth. Frustratingly, though, readers will not be able to point to any reason as to why the shaped webs keep blowing away and why the marvelous final web will be any different.

Not the strongest choice in terms of either shape learning or reflecting nature; still, this may get readers outside in search of webs. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30352-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

ANIMAL SHAPES

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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