While some readers will want a more substantial plot, others will find Moti and his friends charming and even inspiring....

READ REVIEW

MOTI THE MITZVAH MOUSE

Lots of people commit acts of mischief when no one is looking. Moti the mouse secretly commits good deeds.

Moti lives under the kitchen sink in the home of a white, Jewish family, but he sometimes sneaks out to perform a “mitzvah.” The term is a traditional Hebrew word for “commandment,” but it is often loosely construed as a synonym for “an act of kindness,” and here it even takes on the connotation of “a fun children’s game.” Moti finds lost toys and gives them back to their owners. He decorates placemats to help celebrate Shabbat. The book turns each mitzvah into a puzzle for readers. When Moti tosses “scraps and crumbs” to hungry animals, the text asks, “What mitzvah is Moti doing…?” and “How many birds can you find?” Some readers will be frustrated that this is more of a puzzle book than a story. Others will be pleased by the lack of conflict. In this book, mice and cats get along and give one another gifts—mostly cheese. The loose, sketchy pictures of the characters by Knopp-Kilpert are endearing. As collaged in on her painterly, textured backgrounds, they almost look like stickers that children could collect.

While some readers will want a more substantial plot, others will find Moti and his friends charming and even inspiring. They might even get up in the dark of night to perform good deeds. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2649-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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