With its companion, a suitable introduction to the puzzles found in dentist-office magazines, with the same short-term...

THINGS THAT GO

From the Spot the Difference series

A busy book tests the patience of young children who are just learning to read pictures.

Each double-page spread focuses on a vehicle type: flying machines, cars, farm equipment, bikes, and so on. But there’s something odd in each category. Is that wheel made of a lemon and that one a pizza? Actually, yes. Leading questions are posed on each spread. Side-by-side scenes of emergency equipment and boats seem identical, but readers are invited to look more closely to find 10 differences. A bit of information, often without any picture clue, is included on each spread. For example, a sentence about horses and carriages runs across the bottom of the car spread, but there are no horses or carriages shown. Instead, the rather arbitrary instructions are to “spot three squirrels” and “count ten trees.” An answer key on the final spread may allay the frustration of both child and adult readers. Animals, published simultaneously, uses a similar format with beasts from different biomes. The subtle differences will challenge the board-book set, so they are best studied with a helpful adult or older sibling. Older children may be put off by the board pages and will easily remember the answers.

With its companion, a suitable introduction to the puzzles found in dentist-office magazines, with the same short-term appeal. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4654-5620-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc.

SANTA AND THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

Not quite the Polar Express….

Sobel’s rhyming text fails to deliver a clear premise for the eponymous goodnight train’s Christmas Eve progress through the pages, and Huliska-Beith’s acrylic paintings embellished with fabric and paper collage don’t clarify the storytelling. At the start of the picture book, a bevy of anthropomorphic animals decorates a rather rickety-looking engine, and then human children gather around and pile into train cars that look like beds and cribs. The train follows a track, seemingly in pursuit of Santa’s sleigh, but to what end isn’t clear. They travel “through a town of gingerbread” and through the woods to find the sleigh blocking the tracks and the reindeer snoozing while, mystifyingly, Santa counts some sheep. Perching the sleigh on the train’s cowcatcher, they all proceed to the North Pole, where the “elves all cheer. / Santa’s here until next year!” But then the goodnight train just…leaves, “heading home on Christmas Eve.” Was this a dream? It definitely wasn’t a story with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. Santa’s face is never seen; the human children and elves are diverse.

A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-61840-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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