A well-designed and -executed outing, this interactive adventure is a trip little ones will want to take again and again.

RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT

This rhyming, lift-the-flap title teaches little ones the meanings of various road signs and signals.

Short, rhyming lines with catchy rhythms set the pace for this rollicking road trip: “Let’s take a ride. Here’s your seat! / We’ll drive down this: One way street!” Pictured on this initial spread are the happy little red-and-yellow car that will be the book’s central character and a large one-way-street sign. The rhymes continue, telling the story of the car as it moves through the city encountering new signs and signals, each of which is a sturdy flap that, when lifted, reveals text that explains what the sign means and completes a rhyming couplet. The little car encounters red, yellow, and green traffic lights, a stop sign, a railroad-crossing sign, a school-crossing sign, and more before finally arriving at its destination, which is, appropriately, a playground. The simple text scans well, and the vibrant, fanciful illustrations help keep the journey upbeat and interesting.

A well-designed and -executed outing, this interactive adventure is a trip little ones will want to take again and again. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-74463-8

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc.

SANTA AND THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

Not quite the Polar Express….

Sobel’s rhyming text fails to deliver a clear premise for the eponymous goodnight train’s Christmas Eve progress through the pages, and Huliska-Beith’s acrylic paintings embellished with fabric and paper collage don’t clarify the storytelling. At the start of the picture book, a bevy of anthropomorphic animals decorates a rather rickety-looking engine, and then human children gather around and pile into train cars that look like beds and cribs. The train follows a track, seemingly in pursuit of Santa’s sleigh, but to what end isn’t clear. They travel “through a town of gingerbread” and through the woods to find the sleigh blocking the tracks and the reindeer snoozing while, mystifyingly, Santa counts some sheep. Perching the sleigh on the train’s cowcatcher, they all proceed to the North Pole, where the “elves all cheer. / Santa’s here until next year!” But then the goodnight train just…leaves, “heading home on Christmas Eve.” Was this a dream? It definitely wasn’t a story with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. Santa’s face is never seen; the human children and elves are diverse.

A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-61840-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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