¡CUCÚ! EN EL MAR/ PEEKABOO! IN THE OCEAN

Five sea creatures, five flaps, 10 pages—just enough for a bilingual board book.

Starting with the title, the Spanish text always comes first, with the English translation below in a different color. The peekaboo theme is emphasized, with each left-hand page asking the same question: “¡Cucú! ¿Quién está ahi? / Peek a boo! Who’s there?” On the opposite page, an animal uses their flippers, tentacles, fins, or claws to cover their face. Shaped, full-page gatefolds always open to the right to create an extended spread with the original question, the answer in both Spanish and English, and a stylized image of the animal. The words stand out against color-saturated backgrounds. Each animal is shown and described in action: “dolphin splashing,” “octopus creeping,” “turtle swimming,” “seal diving,” and “crab digging.” Very quickly, even the youngest children will start repeating the question in both languages and manipulate the large, sturdy flaps. The action words are a stretch, but one difficult word and its translation is just right for toddlers. There is no pronunciation guide for readers not conversant with Spanish, but the clear design and repetition make up for this minor gap. Hopefully the other titles in the series—Peekaboo! On the Farm, In the Jungle, and In the Snow (all 2016)—will also be rereleased in bilingual editions.

¡Bien hecho! Well done! (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78628-553-9

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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