A welcome addition to the limited English–Mandarin Chinese bilingual board books available.

12 LUCKY ANIMALS

A BILINGUAL BABY BOOK

An introduction to the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac in an entertaining bilingual format.

This delightful board book opens with the rat, the first animal in the repeating zodiac cycle, and ends with the pig. Each oh-so-cute animal is presented in vivid color on the left page and again in a more muted tone along with its English moniker and Standard Chinese character on the right. Pinyin and phonetic pronunciations are also included. In pinyin, “rat” is pronounced “shu” and phonetically as “shoo.” In addition, the traits ascribed to a person born in a particular year (much like Western astrology) are also listed. According to the book, someone born in the Year of the Rat is “clever, curious, loves to eat and stay up late,” which readers familiar with the zodiacal principles may feel is somewhat true but is also unsurprisingly simplistic. Little ones will love the adorable illustrations, and older ones will enjoy trying to pronounce the Mandarin Chinese words. Developmentally en pointe, the book’s familiar animals take on striking geometric shapes that children will recognize. However, if precise pronunciation is the goal, this book is best read aloud by someone who knows basic Mandarin Chinese.

A welcome addition to the limited English–Mandarin Chinese bilingual board books available. (Bilingual board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-18424-5

Page Count: 13

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Little fingers will enjoy making this book dance, and their bodies may not be far behind.

DANCE

Using his signature supersturdy pull-tabs to animate the scenes, Van Fleet concocts a crowd pleaser about a baby chick learning to dance.

At the dance hall, a newly hatched chick, dubbed “Chickie Baby,” is taught to shake by hippopotamuses, to hop by bunnies, and more. The rhyming text is playfully repetitive and rhythmic, employing some clever wordplay: “Cool, Chickie Baby, now you’re great and gettin’ greater! / Now swing both your arms and do the Gator Mashed Potater!” Here an alligator teaches Chickie Baby a fist-pumping arm motion (not actually the 1960s mashed potato dance), activated by the pull-tab on the right of the page. There are times when the text’s phrases miss the meter and the refrain after Chickie Baby learns a step (“You can dance!”) doesn’t quite flow. The final double-page spread shows Chickie Baby showing off all of his moves, and his friends offer a curtain call in the form of a gatefold pop-up. But the star here, for any toddler or preschooler, will be the extra-large pull-tabs. From the “Busy Beaver Bop” to the “Crazy Piggy Tap,” these tabs demand to be pulled repeatedly—and they can take it. A thick, clear piece of plastic acts as protection for the parts, making this series the sturdiest movable books available.

Little fingers will enjoy making this book dance, and their bodies may not be far behind. (Pop-up board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8707-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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