FROG & FRIENDS

From the What Am I? series

This appealing offering presents a series of clues to a riddle with the answer revealed on a final, fold-out page.

The unnamed, first-person narrator describes, in one simple sentence per spread, an enjoyable day with friends, which include ducks, a beaver, frogs, turtles, snails, dragonflies and fireflies. The final page asks, “What am I?” and a vertical fold-out reveals an answer that no one will likely guess: a pond. The simple text is appropriately large and bold, and the delightful illustrations feature thick lines, chunky, smiling critters, and a vibrant, natural color scheme. Despite the potential confusion engendered by the title—which suggests that the first-person narrator is a frog—the riddle concept works well, and the answer, which readers of any age will be unlikely to guess, rightly encourages them to perceive the pond as not simply a backdrop, but an integral part of a thriving ecosystem. In a companion title, Owl and Friends, a tree tells readers about all the happy times it shares with forest animals as readers try to guess its identity. An engaging riddle book with standout illustrations, especially the final foldout, which is filled with merry creatures being regarded by a cheerful sun and a content, pigtailed little girl. (Board book. 1-4)

 

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8431-7277-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Price Stern Sloan

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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