A perfectly pleasant interactive read for pale-skinned toddlers.


From the Let's Play Games! series

The Finger Worms participate in a variety of athletic competitions.

This humorously playful book encourages little readers to draw a smiley face on the tip of a finger (or to have their parents do it for them) and poke it through the die-cut holes and slots in the pages to form the face of a supplied body and interact with the text. The Finger Worms box, do high jumps and high dives, and even race. The book’s construction is fairly intuitive, and with little coaxing, little ones will be able to pick up the book and easily figure out what they need to do in order to make their Finger Worms the greatest. Adults with large hands may have a tough time; the finger holes and their placements work best for young readers. The illustrations are stripped down to the basics, with simple lines and primary colors. Artsy readers will surely be inspired to craft their own finger sports arenas on drawing paper. This is a read that will do OK in the story stack but thrive as an arts-and-crafts instigator. In companion title The Finger Travel Game, the Finger Worms travel by air to Paris before taking to the mountains for skiing, a submarine, a sailboat, Egypt (by camel), and even outer space. The generously sized holes in the pages are in the same place throughout the entire book, so even the largest hands can participate. In both titles, the Finger Worms are all Caucasian, limiting the book’s appeal.

A perfectly pleasant interactive read for pale-skinned toddlers. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7148-6979-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...


An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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An amusing and lively read that celebrates a venerable literary form.


A bear desperate to hibernate seeks refuge from neighbors.

A big brown bear is dressed in pajamas and ready to turn in for winter when suddenly: “KNOCK KNOCK.” “Who’s there?” asks the bear. “Justin the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by!” responds a fox bearing an arm full of firewood, and thus begins a series of knock-knock jokes that brings more and more woodland neighbors into the bear’s home. The bear grows increasingly frustrated as the illustrations grow ever more frantic, the compositions filled with animals bearing party supplies, food, and gifts. Eventually it is revealed that the bear’s neighbors are merely wishing their friend a safe and happy hibernation, and readers as well as the grouchy bear will find their hearts warming as a tiny chipmunk embraces its leg, proclaiming, “Al miss you all winter long.” Little readers will enjoy the narrative Sauer builds on these knock-knock jokes, and the repetition of the format will encourage them to create some of their own. The dynamic illustrations pop with color and noise, juxtaposing nicely with the bear in PJs who’s clearly desperate for some shut-eye. The end goal of sleep makes this a nice bedtime read-aloud, particularly for little readers who may be resisting the end of the day, even as the giant, red “KNOCK KNOCK”s encourage raucous storytime participation.

An amusing and lively read that celebrates a venerable literary form. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-11694-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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