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This morality tale tries too hard to be a poem.

Alfonzo the goat loves his new coat, but he loves helping others more.

“Let me tell you the tale of Alfonzo the goat, / who was terribly proud of his lovely new coat.” The text mostly continues in anapestic tetrameter, with a few awkward adjustments for those reading it aloud. Almost immediately after strutting about in his beautiful new coat, Alfonzo hears distress signals from a family of newly homeless frogs. Without hesitation, he enlists a bird to pick some stitches out of one of the sleeves, and the frogs have a new home: a boat. (Well, it had to rhyme with coat, right?) With “a warm glow in the depths of his heart,” Alfonzo continues to help animals in trouble by mutilating his new coat. By the time it is all gone and he is close to hypothermia, “Someone was shining around a bright light.” No one is literally shining, as the line suggests; someone is using an instrument that casts a bright light upon the shivering goat. As readers may have expected, Alfonzo the good Samaritan reaps an eventual reward. The art is appropriate: brightly colored, stylized, anthropomorphic animals—humorously goggle-eyed—appear in various indoor and outdoor landscapes. The layout aids in a read-aloud: Sometimes end rhymes and ending near rhymes are situated so that a reader can pause and let listeners guess the pending word. But that doesn’t make it good verse.

This morality tale tries too hard to be a poem. (Picture book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-901-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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From the Peppa Pig series

More kit than story, with some assembly required.

Two outings and a game of hide-and-seek in between add up to a perfect day for Peppa and friends in this four-spread TV-series spinoff.

First Peppa and her bubble-gum–pink family ride to the park (“Vroom!” says little George) for a healthy picnic packed by Daddy Pig. Then it’s home for playtime with Danny Dog and Suzy Sheep, until Grandpa Pig arrives with a boat big enough for all (“Ship ahoy!”). Children can embellish this stripped-down plotline on the foldout playscape attached to the back cover. All of the figures in the flat, very simple illustrations also come as punch-outs on a loose sheet, and there are corresponding slots in the detachable pop-up car and boat. Fans of the British series, which runs on Nick Jr. in the United States, may experience several moments of pleasure before the card-stock vehicles are crushed.

More kit than story, with some assembly required. (sticker sheet) (Pop-up/picture book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6825-9

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Unfortunate and inappropriate.

Mouse, squirrel, bird, rabbit, boar and deer all wonder what an acorn will become, and it promises to feed and shelter these animals once it is grown.

Each critter, arriving on the scene in profile, greets the acorn on a double-page spread and asks, “Little acorn, little acorn, what will you be?” The answers that the acorn gives, in a loose rhyme scheme, vary slightly, but its response to the boar is the most creative: “Someday I’ll be a great big tree, and my bark will scratch your back.” The last few pages show the acorn growing into a tall oak and fulfilling its pledge to the animals. Against swathes of green representing a grassy landscape, Gibbs’ creatures, which look to have been created with watercolor and ink, are comically droll and add energy to the staid subject matter. Attached to the cover are two unnecessary felt leaves, thus making the book “Not suitable for children under 3 years old,” as the very tiny fine print on the back of the book notes. As was also the case with Gibbs’ Little Bee (2012), which had fabric wings on the cover, this choking-hazard gimmick makes the book unsafe to use with the typical board-book audience of babies and toddlers and severely limits the age range with which this title can be shared.

Unfortunate and inappropriate. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-12708-0

Page Count: 20

Publisher: LB Kids/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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