Ephemeral, though cute while it lasts.

PEEK-A-BOO LITTLE CHICK

Felt manipulatives set this simple board book apart from other lift-the flap books.

The slight story imported from France relies on repetition. “Little Chick is looking for his mama. Can you help him find her? / Is she in the tree? / No, that’s a bird.” In addition to the songbird, the charming baby finds a duck and a goose before reuniting with his mama in the chicken coop. Each of these animals is concealed behind a felt flap. On first read, most young children will not be able to guess what animal may be hidden. A speck of yellow that is the duckling’s tail poking from “behind the reeds” and a bit of the goose’s beak partially shown “behind the gate” are extremely subtle hints, and the songbird and Mother Hen are totally hidden. Still, the pattern is easily learned. Little fingers will quickly move the felt flaps out of the way, though they may become soiled or torn when subjected to normal toddler handling. The flap on the cover, cut in the shape of half an eggshell, may not survive the Easter basket. Huang’s cheerful illustrations in pink, orange, teal, yellow, and white match the season but bear little relation to colors children might see in nature. Greenery is orange, teal, or pink—not spring green. The reeds look like an orange crown, and the cloud-shaped piece of felt that hides the bird is orange, as are the other leaves on the tree.

Ephemeral, though cute while it lasts. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5177-3

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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