This introduction should please little ones and their parents alike.

PEEK AND PLAY CHRISTMAS STORY

Babies and toddlers can enjoy a simple introduction to the Christmas story with this cleverly constructed board book, which was first published in Great Britain.

Unlike most Nativity stories for younger children, the cover of this book shows the three Magi holding their gifts ready for presentation. Each of the following five double-page spreads has two or three brief lines of text on the upper left-hand page that end with a question. The right-hand page is a gatefold flap that can be lifted to reveal the answer to the question posed in the text. For example, the first spread shows Joseph and Mary riding on their donkey. “Is it far?” When the flap is lifted, a town is revealed in the distance, with the words “Nearly at Bethlehem.” Subsequent flaps are lifted to reveal the inside of the stable, the angels announcing the birth to the shepherds, the star followed by the Magi and the entire cast of characters surrounding the baby Jesus in the manger. Unfortunately, the final question regarding the appearance of the Wise Men is awkward to read, if grammatically correct: “For whom are the gifts they bring?” However, cheery illustrations in jewel-bright hues will appeal to young children, and the well-constructed book has sturdy cardboard pages with rounded corners that should stand up to enthusiastic use from toddlers.

This introduction should please little ones and their parents alike. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7459-6261-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Lion/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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