Like much of what’s in real delivery boxes, this is ephemeral—fun for a minute but not essential.

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

Large flaps and tactile elements enliven this guessing-game board book.

The organizing premise of this novelty book is the ubiquitous pile of delivery boxes found almost daily on many a porch. Those in this book have tactile elements poking out to hint at what’s inside. Rhyming text on the left poses a question about each box’s contents. Sturdy flaps on the opposite page reveal the rhyming answer and a fantasy character that’s probably recognizable to even young children. Labels on the depicted box and in the illustrations also contain clues. Three flaps are almost as large as the page; two are split, requiring two hands to open. The rhymes are clever, but the wordplay and sophisticated language seem designed to engage adult readers rather than delight toddlers. For example, a label on one box reads, “HANDLE WITH SCARE.” Older preschoolers will easily guess the answers and be ready to move on quickly. Disappointingly, the fuzzy pink blob poking through the cutout on the front cover has no obvious relation to the contents of any of the five boxes in the slight story. Librarians and booksellers will appreciate what’s under the final flap: “A BOOK! Their stories bring us smiles and fun— / the magic of reading for everyone!”

Like much of what’s in real delivery boxes, this is ephemeral—fun for a minute but not essential. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-683-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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

KNOCK KNOCK

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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It’s all very obvious, but there’s no harm in harping on kindness.

ABCS OF KINDNESS

A HIGHLIGHTS BOOK ABOUT KINDNESS

An alphabet book featuring different ways to be kind.

This oversized board book takes a walk through the alphabet and hits on most of the obvious ways in which children can be kind to one another, themselves, and the planet. Berger’s simple text includes both small acts, like “Brightening someone’s day with a smile,” and larger ones, such as “Standing up for someone when no one else will.” The text is direct, without any poetry or flourish, so it reads a bit like an encyclopedia. The acts of kindness feel attainable for young readers, and Trukhan’s illustrations offer practical examples: One child gives up their spot in line for the slide; another makes room at the lunch table. Trukhan’s illustrations are reminiscent of Byron Barton’s, featuring bold, block colors and geometric foundations. The book is inclusive of people with many different skin and hair colors, and it also depicts one child with a cochlear implant and another who walks with forearm crutches. Trukhan’s companion title, Kindess Counts 123, with text by R.A. Strong, echoes both this title’s theme and its inclusivity. While none of the content in either book is particularly revelatory, it is still meaningful and nicely presented.

It’s all very obvious, but there’s no harm in harping on kindness. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-651-3

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Highlights Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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