A pleasant interactive outing.


From the Follow Me series

Little Ted prepares for bed.

Ted, an anthropomorphic brown bear in red T-shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers, recaps his day and gets ready for bed in this interactive board book. The narration encourages little readers to trace their fingers along a path carved through each double-page spread. The story begins outside as Ted is called in by his mother, continues through the kitchen, up the stairs, into a bath, and on to bed. The paths, created by gluing painted scenes with die-cut trails onto the board pages, are deep enough that little ones will be able to trace the way with ease and cover enough ground via squiggles and turns to make it worthwhile. Each scene is accompanied by an aabb quartet that guides readers. For example, “Ted races out into the hall / He runs so fast he almost falls. / With your finger take a lot of care / to help Ted reach the top of the stairs” accompanies a path that zigzags sharply up the stairs. The busy illustrations and bright colors won’t do much to lull a child to sleep, despite the bedtime theme. Companion title Animal Faces publishes concurrently and uses the same finger-tracing technique to draw emotions on animals, such as a frown face on a “sad pig” or a furrowed brow on a “worried bear.”

A pleasant interactive outing. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0267-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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It’s got high visual appeal, but don’t count on the text to deliver.


A young mermaid encounters different sea creatures in this rhyming, counting board book.

The book opens with a mother-and-daughter mermaid pair, both White-presenting, setting off on an adventure. After spotting two octopuses, curious Umi continues her discoveries solo, inviting readers to count (among other things) pearls, seahorses, and, at the end of the busy day, the stars visible in the sky. As the book progresses, the number of objects and animals increases from one to 10. The rhyming stanzas are basic, keeping a nice cadence, but there is also little surprising or creative within this familiar format. Diederen’s illustrations are the highlight, done in a pleasing and unusual palette of coral and salmon, set off with teal and even darker blues. These are a welcome change for readers well used to bright and bold neons in similar board books, though the low contrast suits this book to older toddlers. Umi looks young and charming in what looks like a full-body mermaid suit (as opposed to Mommy’s traditional shell bra and skin midriff), and the ocean’s creatures—even the often frightening angler fish—are equally darling and friendly. There’s one large plot hole, however: Where does Umi’s mother go, and why is Umi alone for most of the day? Readers might notice the flick of Mommy’s fin as she swims out of the frame, but there is never an explanation. Perhaps this is something lost in the uncredited translation from the original Dutch. Thank goodness little readers find a mother-daughter reunion of hugs and kisses at the end.

It’s got high visual appeal, but don’t count on the text to deliver. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-60537-583-0

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A sweet if fragile introduction to the building blocks of words.


From the Scholastic Early Learners series

The ABCs come to life in a touch-and-feel book.

"A is for apple that grows on a tree. / B is for butterflies, 1, 2, and 3," and thus begins a rhythmic, tactile exploration of the alphabet. Every letter of the alphabet is accompanied by an interactive activity in this large board book. These activities range from lifting flaps to feeling textures, and each letter is graphically designed to stand out individually. The book is well-intentioned, but the construction is lacking. Flaps are easily ripped out, and the binding is flimsy as well. Excitable little readers may make short work of it, but calm readers will enjoy luxuriating in each letter's individual page. This is a terrific book for readers in that sweet spot just between board books and picture books—if they can be coached to treat it gently.

A sweet if fragile introduction to the building blocks of words. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-90317-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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