Will not “bee” an essential purchase.

SLEEPY BEE

A tired bee flits about, pollinating as she goes.

Let’s talk first impressions: This is one exhausted-looking bee on the cover, with bags under her eyes that make her verge on haggard. Her weary face is somewhat off-putting, and it’s never clear what fatigues her. Does she really find the enthusiastically described tasks of finding “nectar to sip” and “pollen to munch” so onerous? Readers might experience a similar feeling of disquiet when reading the poetry aloud. Yes, the book rhymes, but the couplets have a forced, choppy feel, and the meter is inconsistent from page to page. Though there are bright, informational stanzas with effervescent lines extolling the “yummy, twisty vines of green sweet pea” sprinkled throughout, others like, “At mid-day, when the sun is high. / She zooms to sunflowers nearby” feel flat and even amateurish. Better is the art sitting underneath the superimposed cartoon bee. Big, bright portraits of luscious, labeled veggies, flowers, and fruits, including strawberries, pumpkins, and apples, are eye-catching and just right for very young viewers. Muted collages of garden scenes have an earthy, cut-paper quality and contain enough details of fields and gardens to be interesting but not overwhelming. Bulleted facts on the back cover contain some neat bee facts; though they are too sophisticated for a board-book audience, adults reading with their children may learn a thing or two.

Will not “bee” an essential purchase. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-936669-86-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for...

HELLO LAMB

This simple board book invites little ones to greet baby farm animals (including frog, bunny, and bee) with their corresponding sounds.

The first double-page spread greets readers with a bright yellow smiling sun and the text “Hello, Sun. / Hello, Day. / Wake up, babies. / Time to play!” Each succeeding spread has a distinct, gently patterned background, with very brief text on the verso (“Hello Puppy! / Woof Woof”). Filling up the recto is a vibrant illustration of the baby animal’s face, wide eyed and smiling, outlined in black. The final spread presents the face of a cute baby with chalky brown-gray skin, bright black eyes, and short black hair: “Goo Goo.” Babies and toddlers will enjoy looking at the baby faces, animals and human, and repeating the sounds. A companion book, Goodnight Bear, has a similar pattern of text and illustrations, though the palette is suitably darker. The moon, surprisingly, has its eyes shut, and succeeding spreads depict an owlet, a baby bat, a baby hedgehog, and other familiar nocturnal baby animals, all wide-awake and smiling. The final spread depicts a cute baby with pale skin, blond hair, and closed eyes.

It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for the target audience. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0430-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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