I LOVE MY PUPPY

From the Love Meez series

A girl and her dog bond for life.

Mia and her puppy are the best of friends. The duo plays together, eats together, and snuggles together as recounted in rhyming verse with an abcb pattern. This board book is sprinkled with touch-and-feel elements throughout, underlining its cuddly themes. The tactile parts of the illustrations are very subtle, integrated cleverly into the illustrations, and little ones will enjoy discovering each one. Both on the cover and in the first double-page spread, the puppy is fuzzy; a red ball proves to be squishy plastic; the puppy’s “woof!” is spelled out in sparkly letters. Publishing simultaneously in the unfortunately named Love Meez series, I Love My Dinosaur covers similar ground with Patrick and his (actual) pet dino. Both board books put a hearty emphasis on love and affection toward one's pets. The simple illustrations are smartly composed, focusing on the children interacting with their pets at all times, though the protagonists of both books are Caucasian. Parents thinking of getting their little one a fluffy companion would do well to add this to their storytime stack.

A cozy read. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-83594-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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