Where will the lovable Bear and his best friend travel next? (Picture book. 2-5)

WHAT'S UP, BEAR?

A BOOK ABOUT OPPOSITES

A trip to the Big Apple is fraught with anxiety for Sophie’s stuffed bear in this tour-cum–opposite book.

Sophie is thrilled to be visiting New York City with her dad; Bear is not as excited. Left-hand pages present one sentence from Sophie’s perspective, while right-hand pages detail Bear’s experiences. Bolded words in each introduce opposites: up and down for the airplane ride, fast and slow for the taxi trip, tall and short when comparing themselves to Manhattan’s skyscrapers. While not all the sights are specific to New York, readers will recognize LaGuardia Airport, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the Museum of Natural History, and of course, the subway (the 3 train) in Moore’s brightly colored digital illustrations. (The endpapers provide further facts about each of these places.) When Sophie and her dad head to a toy store, though, the tale takes a darker turn as Bear questions his self-worth and then is lost amid all the other bears at the store: fancy/plain, new/old, big/small, forgot/remember. Happily, he wears an address tag that helps him reunite with Sophie: lost/found. Throughout, readers will be captivated by both Sophie’s and Bear’s facial expressions; Sophie’s exuberance is obvious, while the patched and well-loved Bear looks like he might lose his lunch after riding the subway.

Where will the lovable Bear and his best friend travel next? (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-926973-41-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Ideal for any community where children count.

COUNTING ON COMMUNITY

A difficult concept is simply and strikingly illustrated for the very youngest members of any community, with a counting exercise to boot.

From the opening invitation, “Living in community, / it's a lot of FUN! / Lets count the ways. / Lets start with ONE,” Nagaro shows an urban community that is multicultural, supportive, and happy—exactly like the neighborhoods that many families choose to live and raise their children in. Text on every other page rhymes unobtrusively. Unlike the vocabulary found in A Is for Activist (2013), this book’s is entirely age-appropriate (though some parents might not agree that picketing is a way to show “that we care”). In A Is for Activist, a cat was hidden on each page; this time, finding the duck is the game. Counting is almost peripheral to the message. On the page with “Seven bikes and scooters and helmets to share,” identifying toys in an artistic heap is confusing. There is only one helmet for five toys, unless you count the second helmet worn by the girl riding a scooter—but then there are eight items, not seven. Seven helmets and seven toys would have been clearer. That quibble aside, Nagara's graphic design skills are evident, with deep colors, interesting angles, and strong lines, in a mix of digital collage and ink.

Ideal for any community where children count. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60980-632-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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