Carle’s illustrations are lovely as always, but this repackaging seems unnecessary—more marketing ploy than essential...



From the World of Eric Carle series

Carle’s iconic illustrations are recycled for a new generation of toddlers.

As she did in My First Peek-a-Boo Animals (2017) and My First Busy Book (2015), designer Hannah Frece has chosen images from the Eric Carle backlist to illustrate a simple board book. This time mirrors have been added to images on the right-hand side of each spread. If the book is held just right, the child’s face is reflected within the outline of a cloud, a sun, a tree, a moon, and a star. (Sticky fingers quickly scratch and smudge the mirrors.) A heart-shaped cutout on the cover reveals the first mirror and complements the butterflies on the first-page verso. Rhyming stanzas starting with “I see you in…” are completed by a description of an appropriate action. So a butterfly “flutters so high,” clouds “float across the sky,” a lion “roars,” the sun “shines,” a monkey “swings,” and so on. Some actions, seemingly forced by the need to rhyme, may puzzle young children. Do puppies really play peekaboo? The final double-page spread invites children to repeat each action. After one reading most toddlers will already be fluttering, roaring, and waving along, but the reprise is a reminder that reading with toddlers should be an interactive experience.

Carle’s illustrations are lovely as always, but this repackaging seems unnecessary—more marketing ploy than essential purchase. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2454-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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


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 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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