A charming, not-so-simple board book that will surely engage.

READ REVIEW

FLY!

From the TouchThinkLearn series

A bird embarks on a long journey.

In the first double-page spread, a yellow bird arrives at the foot of a tall tree after what the text calls “a very long journey,” but her story is far from over. As she makes a home in her tree and then a family with a red bird who joins her, this board book explores the circle of life. The book’s illustrations are large and rounded, mostly circles or half-circles, enhancing that “circle of life” theme. The book holds removable play pieces that can be slotted into the compositions in different ways. For example, a round yellow piece symbolizing the sun can be taken, flipped, and inserted into a recess in the picture opposite as the bushy round crown of a tree. Each double-page spread offers at least one removable piece to be fitted into the opposite page; they do not require carrying over into subsequent spreads. The interactive play is a perfect spice to a simple story that will delight little ones. The pieces aren’t dangerously tiny, but some will inevitably make their ways under the couch or become stuck between cushions. Luckily the compositions still work well enough without them.

A charming, not-so-simple board book that will surely engage. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5922-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep.

DEEP SEA DIVE

LIFT-THE-FLAP ADVENTURES

A diver directly recruits his audience to explore the salty sea.

Closed, the shaped cover follows the curve of the diver’s helmet; open, it evokes goggles through which readers can explore the deep. A variety of underwater creatures are revealed through lifting flaps; brief rhyming text on the undersides of the flaps provides a little informational heft. These rhymes are not distinguished by their lyricism, alas. “Jellyfish are pretty— / some glow in the dark. / But don't swim too close— / their sting leaves a mark.” The simply drawn creatures are not depicted to scale. The seahorse dominates its page, while the toothy shark appears shorter than the sea turtle. Two-toned blue backgrounds evoke waves. Space Walk uses an identical format to survey the planets (all eight of them) and is equally superficial.

The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-8525-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Pass on this weak offering.

WHERE IS FLUFFY?

From the My First Stories series

A predictable board-book mystery.

The mystery involves a common childhood crisis—a lost toy. Ho’s trademark round-headed animals stand in for humans with a range of emotions, from the persistently worried Little Bunny to grumpy Pig. Each barnyard animal offers the distraught bunny a comforting alternative to his blanket, “Fluffy.” Finally, when Mouse admits to borrowing Fluffy for a snuggle, Little Bunny forgives him surprisingly quickly because, “I love my Fluffy for snuggling too.” The rhyming text presents problems—either by not actually rhyming (lost/most; fur/near) or falling inconsistently, making end rhymes unpredictable and less than useful in a book for pre-readers. Instead of letting the pictures tell the story, superfluous speaker attributions make this a tedious read-aloud and impede the rhyme: “ ‘I'll search the pond for your Fluffy,’ says Duck. / ‘I've looked underwater already. No luck!’ Fish tells Little Bunny.” The various flaps, foil inserts, and very small tactile elements are not intriguing enough to rescue the story. The tiny patch of wolf fur peeking through the page with the lambs is easily missed (and is disconcertingly far away from the picture of the wolf). Perhaps out of concern for the safety of the lamb, the wolf does not appear on the next page. No similar caution is shown when the owl shares a page with its prey. Do owls not eat chicks wearing spectacles?

Pass on this weak offering. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-2-7338-3235-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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