Quibbles aside, kids will enjoy reading and handling this book as long as its (not particularly sturdy) binding lasts.

TOUCH!

MY BIG TOUCH-AND-FEEL WORD BOOK

One hundred and fifty words, most of them useful!

This substantial, 24-page board book aims to expand the vocabularies of young readers by way of text, drawings, and 30 touch-and-feel elements. Each page depicts objects organized by theme: “Meal Time,” “Bedtime,” and “Bath Time,” for example, or “Clothes,” “At the Market,” and “On the Road.” The book concludes with 10 pages of animals: “Short Hair,” “Furry,” “Smooth Skin,” “Rough Skin,” “Scales and Shells,” and “Birds.” Textured items on each page keep little fingers and minds engaged—a baby bottle, a plush blanket, a burlap sack, a corduroy jacket, horse “hair,” wolf “fur,” and fish “scales,” to name a few. The book depicts children of varied ethnicities—a white boy and girl on the front and back covers respectively, a brown-skinned boy and a girl who appears to be his younger sister, and a black-haired, brown-skinned boy buying strawberries. There are a few sour notes: one familiar toy is labeled a “shape sorter,” which many children will simply see as a puzzle. “Ride-on car,” too, sounds awkward, though descriptive. “Jam” is recognizable, but “hazelnut spread” seems a stretch for a child. Both resemble leading grocery-store brands. “Toast” is covered in a sticky spread that collects hair and dirt when laid on a rug.

Quibbles aside, kids will enjoy reading and handling this book as long as its (not particularly sturdy) binding lasts. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-2-7459-8178-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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