Uncluttered, concise, and predictable: perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers.

BABY'S FIRST FARM

A cow, a pig, a sheep, and chickens seen through a cutout barn door and windows hint at what this simple board book is about.

Turn the thick pages to find four different farm buildings, each housing a different animal. Direct, repetitive text follows the same formula on each spread: “This is a henhouse. But who is inside?” Hints are embedded in the illustration. An overalls-clad school-age kid with pale skin and brown pigtails holds a basket of eggs, and a nesting box is seen outside the henhouse. Smaller text in a speech bubble asks, “What is that noise behind the bucket?” and directs readers to a small flap that hides chicks and the words Cheep! Cheep! That flap is embedded in a larger flap that reveals “It is the hens and their chicks! Say ‘Hello, hens!’ ” The same pattern is followed for cows, pigs, and sheep, with the same key words emphasized by a larger font. Full-page flaps on the final spread reveal all the animals in the barn. The presentation of the same limited facts about just four animals makes this a good choice for the youngest children. Two flaps per spread is just enough for a toddler’s attention span, and the double gatefold at the end is a welcome surprise. This is certain to generate both conversation and choruses of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”

Uncluttered, concise, and predictable: perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-659-6

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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