Readers are unlikely to want all 19 titles in the set, but one or two are fun for the moment.

READ REVIEW

BABY KITTEN

FINGER PUPPET BOOK

A cute novelty element encourages caregiver-child interaction.

A finger poked through the opening at the back of the book makes an orange kitten puppet’s head emerge from a die-cut circle on each page. The built-in finger puppet is securely anchored on the back page. All the pages are extra thick to withstand the rough handling this toy disguised as a book may inspire. The ears of the kitten don’t automatically fit through the opening, so if multiple pages are turned by accident, it’s difficult to fit the kitten’s head back through to correct the mistake. This problem is even more pronounced in companion title Baby Goat because of the goat’s long ears. With each page turn the kitten’s lengthening neck becomes increasingly out of proportion with the rest of his body. The slight storyline follows the kitten through a busy day, beginning with waking up and ending with “Sweet dreams.” The text suggests an action for the finger puppet, as in “When Baby Kitten is happy, he makes a low purring sound.” Unfortunately, the next behavior—licking his fur “clean with his tongue”—is impossible to execute. Still, the finger puppet serves it purpose: to get caregivers to pause and play with words and sounds as they read to their very young children.

Readers are unlikely to want all 19 titles in the set, but one or two are fun for the moment. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8172-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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A happily multisensory exploration.

NOISY FARM

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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