Kirwan’s style is energetic and enjoyable, and here’s hoping she can find more developmentally appropriate material.

READ REVIEW

BABY LOVES TO ROCK!

Various animals and one baby show off their musical talents.

With one sentence per page and puns that are a mix of the clever and the groan-worthy, the text shares the type of music each creature prefers: “The skunk loves punk. / The weasel likes to pop.” The spreads depict the critters engaging in music-related activities and sporting appropriate clothing, accessories and instruments. The highly saturated, slickly retro cartoons have a playful energy and truly pop against solid-color backgrounds with black panels at the bottom for the text. A double-page spread appears at three different intervals asking a variation of “But who really loves to rock?” in a graphic, bold type. On the last two pages, readers learn that “Baby loves to rock, rock, ROCK!” An exuberant infant with oversize eyes appears on a rocking horse, in a cradle and then finally “rocking out” on an electric guitar. While there are ingenious moments in the words and the visuals, all of it is going to go over the heads of babies and toddlers. This is one of those board books that is more for the grown-up readers than the children themselves.

Kirwan’s style is energetic and enjoyable, and here’s hoping she can find more developmentally appropriate material. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5989-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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