This ABC book with its parade of interesting insects will have special appeal for budding naturalists, who will be inspired...

ABC INSECTS

From the AMNH ABC Board Books series

A boldly designed, oversized board book features a creepy-crawly for every letter of the alphabet.

Each capital letter sprawls across a half or whole page, accompanied by a realistic image of an insect beginning with that letter, the name of that insect, and a fact or two about its habitat or behavior. The extra-large letters paired with vivid images of insects against solid backgrounds make for a visually striking presentation. Familiar creatures such as fireflies and grasshoppers appear alongside less-obvious selections, such as jewel beetles and water scorpions. The board-book format, the ABC arrangement and the insect images will appeal to toddlers, while a slightly older crowd will be better able to understand and appreciate the concepts and sometimes somewhat gruesome facts included with each insect, such as, for example, the following: “Kissing bugs are part of the assassin bug family. They feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and reptiles.”

This ABC book with its parade of interesting insects will have special appeal for budding naturalists, who will be inspired to head outdoors and root around in the dirt to see what exciting creatures they might uncover in their own backyards. (Board book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1194-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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