¡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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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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The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers.

I LOVE YOU LIKE NO OTTER

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring through rhymed puns and sentimental art.

The title sets the scene for what’s to come: The owl asks the owlet as they fly together, “WHOO loves you?”; the kangaroo and joey make each other “very HOPPY”; and the lioness and cub are a “PURRRFECT pair.” Most of the puns are both unimaginative and groanworthy, and they are likely to go over the heads of toddlers, who are not know for their wordplay abilities. The text is set in abcb quatrains split over two double-page spreads. On each spread, one couplet appears on the verso within a lightly decorated border on pastel pages. On the recto, a full-bleed portrait of the animal and baby appears in softly colored and cozy images. Hearts are prominent on every page, floating between the parent and baby as if it is necessary to show the love between each pair. Although these critters are depicted in mistily conceived natural habitats and are unclothed, they are human stand-ins through and through.

The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers. (Board book. 6 mos-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1374-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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