The fun of this one is in the manipulative elements, even if they don’t make the book wow.

READ REVIEW

FARM ANIMALS

From the Baby Basics series

An interactive board book about farm animals with sliding tabs.

Deneux deploys his usual simple, bold, labeled illustrations with an eye to palette and a play on color. This board book uses only three colors—orange, black, and white—which may strike some as odd given the illustrations include a pig and a donkey. Readers are invited to slide a tab with a die-cut circle for a fingertip either up and down or back and forth in order to alter details on the animal: An eye opens, a beak turns orange, hooves appear. The illustrations are certainly fun to look at, and the sliding feature is inviting and compelling (even adults will want to try it out). What’s puzzling, though, is the purpose of the sliding, aside from perhaps engaging little readers’ fine-motor skills. What changes about each animal seems arbitrary, sometimes altering them from a single, solid black-on-white or white-on-black silhouette to a figure with some details; others simply add or subtract details. On one page, the chicks disappear and reappear altogether, the only such animal to do that in the book. Thus the book doesn’t seem to be about a play on outlines and shapes, or a play on disappearing and reappearing, or really any one thing except an amusing little gimmick that activates colors and patterns.

The fun of this one is in the manipulative elements, even if they don’t make the book wow. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 979-1-02760-604-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more