Dramatic and accessible for new readers.

FOX AND THE BOX

Fox’s adventure—going out to sea in a box equipped with a sail—is exciting and easy to read.

Ivinson tells her story in 46 simple words. Five or fewer words appear on each double-page spread in a generous font set against the bright seaside scenes of Fox’s exploits. While other animals seem to have real boats, small dinghies in which they are messing about on the ocean, Fox has only a box. Fox has an expressive face, bright reddish-orange fur, and a big bushy tail, and they sport a blue-striped sailor shirt without pants. Determined to set sail, Fox pushes out to sea, bushy tail for a rudder, just as dark clouds brew into a storm. A small mouse goes along for the voyage. Ivinson’s full-color acrylic-paint artwork calls attention to itself in an interesting way, reproduced so that brush strokes and the grain and texture of canvas are clearly shown. One effect is to encourage viewers to slow down, though another is to create a slightly static feel in what is clearly a lively adventure. Still, the paintings of storm, waves, and the small boat and occupants alone on a vast expanse of sea are pretty thrilling, as is the rescue by a big blue whale, and varying perspectives keep the action going.

Dramatic and accessible for new readers. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-284287-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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An adventurous treat of a bedtime story.

BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES

A patient mother with a healthy sense of whimsy helps prepare her headstrong toddler for bed.

The story opens with a toddler, fists raised into the air, proclaiming, “No! No! No!” Thank goodness this not-at-the-moment-sweet creature’s mother is patient and creative as she corrals her child into a bedtime routine that may feel familiar to many readers. The words and behaviors of the child evading bed are translated into animal sounds and behaviors: wide-eyed and asking “Who? Who?” like an owl; shaking hair and roaring like a lion; hanging on for a hug like a koala. And, of course, the requisite leaving bed for a last trip to the bathroom and drink, like a human child. Zunon’s art takes this book to the next level: Her portrayals of the animals mentioned in the text are colorful and full of intriguing patterns and shapes. Additionally, the expressions on the faces of the mother, child, and animals speak volumes, portraying the emotions of each. Arguably, the sweetest part of the story comes at the end, when the child asks to sleep with Mommy and Dad. Though the mother sighs, the child climbs in, along with “owl, bear, snake, kitty, fawn, squirrel, koala, tiger, wolf.” (Readers attuned to details will notice the father’s look of delight at the parade of animals.) All characters are Black.

An adventurous treat of a bedtime story. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3832-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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