Constructed with extra thick pages, the book probably won’t wear out quickly, but that doesn’t justify its purchase....

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TOMO

ADVENTURES IN COUNTING

From the Tomo's Adventure Journal series

Lai uses a simple counting book to introduce the board-book set to the picture-book adventurer met previously in Tomo Explores the World (2016) and Tomo Takes Flight (2017).

After a promising start—“1 bright day on Half-Moon Bay / 2 best friends go on their way”—the story becomes just a list of what the friends see (“3 big bears,” “4 funny frogs”) rather than an artful incorporation of counting into the plot. Though Half Moon Bay is an actual place in Northern California, the animals featured in this story seem to have been chosen at random; polar bears don’t live there. Similarly, Tomo and his friend are not anchored in a particular place or ethnicity. They are shown in a hot air balloon, wearing furred parkas in a boat, and on an island dock. Both are black-haired with pink skin. Latinx? Asian? Indigenous? It’s impossible to know. Except when the girl friend looks horrified at the sight of jellyfish, they are always smiling, often with tongues visible. In companion title Tomo and His Animal Friends the girl is given a name, Maya. It features the same bland digital art and suffers from the same weaknesses.

Constructed with extra thick pages, the book probably won’t wear out quickly, but that doesn’t justify its purchase. Toddlers deserve better. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-11989-6

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A happily multisensory exploration.

NOISY FARM

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Clean design and invitations to action will help young builders become readers—expect to find this book in the sand box or...

NOISY NOISY DIGGER

From the My Little World series

This busy board book introduces five colors, five construction vehicles, and five physical movements.

Each spread begins with the same two couplets: “Noisy Yellow Digger meets someone new. / ‘What is your name and what do you do?’ ” An orange crane, green steamroller, blue dump truck, and red bulldozer each reply, “I’ll show you what I do....” Behind a full-page flap, each truck uses simple, first-person language to explain its basic function in relation to the yellow digger. On the opposite side of the now-open flap cheerful construction-worker bears invite child readers to mimic each vehicle’s action. Opening the flap also produces a truck sound that plays briefly. (The book’s speaker is in the rear cover, so readers may need to take care not to muffle it.) A radio appears with all the vehicles on the final spread, and the flap opens to reveal the bears dancing. The sounds seem almost incidental; the book’s strengths are clear, consistent illustrations and repetitive language. For example, the scene changes with each page, but the digger is always the same, and details (a bee, butterfly, or cloud) shown on the closed page can be found in the same place when the flap is opened. Small print on the back cover cautions that the sounds are light-activated, which makes this a poor choice for bedtime.

Clean design and invitations to action will help young builders become readers—expect to find this book in the sand box or on the road rug. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5892-5242-4

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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