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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Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over.

NOISY TRACTOR

From the I Can Learn series

Little ones can explore a day in the life of a rubber-covered, audio-enabled tractor.

The “5 noisy parts!” promised on the cover are powered by a battery embedded in the back of the book, the compartment securely screwed shut. Youngsters are prompted by the text to press various parts of the tractor to make interesting sound effects, such as an engine starting then chugging, a horn, and tire noise on muddy or rocky terrain. A large, tractor-shaped die-cut hole in every page allows children to access the vehicle on every double-page spread but leaves the left-hand pages dominated by that tractor-shaped hole. Farm animals make their signature sounds via speech bubble (horses, chicks, and cows, to name a few) along with other critters offering suggestions about which buttons on the tractor to press. For additional play value, a ladybug and a caterpillar can be spotted on every double-page spread. Labels for most of the animals appear in a clear font along with other farm-centric vocabulary words: pitchfork, seedlings, trough. Elliott’s art is busy, but the simple, eye-catching patterns and graphically clean lines in bright colors will appeal to the audience. While this offering is perfect for toddlers, the extensive warnings in the fine print on the back of the book about what may happen if the button battery is swallowed should scare adults into being vigilant. Thankfully, there is an on/off switch allowing for toggling between a quiet and noisy reading experience.

Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-669-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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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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