Young ones will want to join in on this monster romp again and again, since it is all so silly, comforting and familiar.

ROMPING MONSTERS, STOMPING MONSTERS

The menagerie of monsters from Yolen and Murphy’s previous pairing (Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters, 2011) returns for an adventure at the playground.

All sorts and sizes of monsters gather at Creepy Commons to have some fun. The author uses two- or three-word phrases to build a steady rhyming text describing the full range of activities taking place. “Monsters stretch. / Monsters twirl. // Monsters catch. / Monsters hurl. // Monsters tumble, / Run, and lope. / Monsters jump / A monster rope.” The cadence will be soothing to young ears, leaving the eyes of toddlers and preschoolers to discover the playful details found throughout the soft-hued illustrations painted in oil, acrylic and gel. This diverse bunch is cute and cuddly without coming across as overly sweet. Some have four eyeballs, and some have only one. Pointy horns and handlike hair sprout from curious places on this happily rambunctious crew. Big and small, young and old—all cavort on slides and swings. Occasionally, there is a mishap—“Monsters in / Three-legged races / Fall upon / Their Monster faces”—but it is nothing a “monster-sicle” treat cannot fix.

Young ones will want to join in on this monster romp again and again, since it is all so silly, comforting and familiar. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5727-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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

THE MERMAID COUNTING BOOK

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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No doubt preschoolers will enjoy learning about the various breeds of cat, but it’s the whimsical illustrations that really...

A CARNIVAL OF CATS

A carnival theme runs through the illustrations in this brief introduction to different breeds of cats.

Rhyming text and a window at the center of the right-hand pages suggest a certain type of cat. For example: the first window frames the paws and part of the face of an orange-and-black kitty cat, and the accompanying text reads: “Orange and black / from head to toe. / Could that be a….” Turn the page for the answer—“Calico!”—and an illustration of the calico cat grinning while swinging from a trapeze bar. The artwork, created with sepia ink, watercolor, and wax resist on paper, offers lovely, detailed pictures of all the felines frolicking about in carnival settings. In addition to the calico, the book features a tabby, Siamese, Persian, Maine coon, bobtail, Bombay, Russian blue, and a Scottish fold. The kitty riddles are framed with scenes of a little girl trying to identify a black-and-white cat, and the final heartwarming pages read: “Here comes that cat. / I know what kind. / He’s just a stray. / That cat is… // Mine!”

No doubt preschoolers will enjoy learning about the various breeds of cat, but it’s the whimsical illustrations that really make this one something to purr about. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0686-3

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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