Good for a giggle from preschool readers despite its slight imperfections.

HELLO ROBOTS!

From the Hello…! series

A brightly illustrated story told in rhyme about mixed-up robots getting ready for the day.

Holub and Dickason team up for another title echoing the style of their similarly formatted Hello Knights! and Hello Ninjas! (both 2018). Here, the titular robots are having trouble getting ready for the day. They put socks on top of shoes and even forget how to eat their cereal, pouring milk on their heads and flipping their bowls upside down on the table. The confusion comes to a climax in a double gatefold in which the robots realize that they need a reboot, correcting their routines. Young readers will delight in the silliness: underpants on heads, bathing in clothes. Holub’s rhyming text works well for the most part and includes some charming turns of phrase, such as “brushing bolts” in place of brushing teeth. Dickason’s illustrations use a consistent palette of mostly primary colors and feature 1960s-style robots drawn with antennae, motherboards on boxy chests, and wheels for feet. The pages are busy and packed, allowing for new discoveries upon each read, though this busyness argues for use with older toddlers. It’s not entirely clear where the robots are headed (school?) or whether or not they’re also ETs (they fly away on a spaceship), but the story is fun enough to overlook those muddled details.

Good for a giggle from preschool readers despite its slight imperfections. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1871-4

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books

BIG FISH LITTLE FISH

From the My Little World series

A mix of marine-life fact and fiction introduces opposites.

With its iconic shape, the eye-catching cover cutout of a bright-orange fish is instantly appealing. Layered die cuts of decreasing size provide texture and handholds for little fingers and form the bodies of varying species of fish. Information about fish habits and habitats is crammed into wordy rhymes with the opposing terms in boldface, but the accuracy of those facts is debatable. Though it’s fair to call the eel “long and very wiggly,” contrasting it with a generic, short yellow fish that’s a rhyme-forced “giggly” introduces a jarring anthropomorphism. In fact, stereotypical human emotions or motivations are attributed to the fish on almost every page. On another page, the slow fish (the only fish not painted with a smile) says, “Even with a big head start, I knew I'd finish last”—a distressingly defeatist message in an otherwise cheery board book. Inexplicably, the final spread depicts all the fish in party hats—turning it into a birthday book. While this may extend its use in day cares, it doesn't help young children learn opposites.

A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58925-215-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary.

MY FIRST BUSY BOOK

From the World of Eric Carle series

The latest addition to the World of Eric Carle is proof that the Wilder Award–winning picture-book creator knows what appeals to children.

This board book is both developmentally appropriate and aesthetically pleasing—perfect for toddlers. In a sturdy, oversize (10 1/2 inches square) format, Carle recycles iconic images from his vast canon to introduce shapes, colors, numbers, animals, and sounds. The flower on the cover is almost (but not quite) identical to the flower that grows from The Tiny Seed (1970). Seeing the animals throughout the pages is like recognizing old friends. But Carle and the book’s designer, Hannah Frece, put these familiar images to fresh uses to create a logical, accessible, and harmonious concept book. Although billed as a “busy book,” it is not hyperactive, using just five or six images per spread. From the mirror that lights up the sun on the cover to the touch-and-feel inserts on the page about animals to the single flap that hides a mouse from a cat, the tactile elements have been chosen with intention instead of just as gimmicks. On other pages, foils and textures are subtle, with many barely raised images that invite tracing.

A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5791-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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