A plastic rattle embedded in the spine promises a two-in-one literary treat. A bouncy rhyming text follows a typically multiethnic Katz cast of hugely round-headed tots as they are exhorted to “Shake your body, / bounce and giggle! / Shake your rattle… / spin and wiggle.” Key words are printed in color, providing visual cues to match sound to text. The cheery pastel palette provides appropriate contrast, assisted by the illustrator’s trademark heavy outlines, and extra visual interest is provided by the varicolored backgrounds against which the babies romp. As lit’rature goes, it’s not a world-beater, but for developmentally appropriate fun, it can hold its head high among its peers. And it makes noise. (1-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6737-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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A cleverly illustrated and simply told story best for the youngest makers.


From the Lil' SmARTies series

It’s so much fun to play with clay!

There is so much that can be done with just a little bit of clay. On each page of this board book, a piece of clay is transformed into something new. It begins as a “blob” and then becomes a “ball,” a “snake,” a “flowerpot,” and a “flower,” among other things. Included among these intricate designs are images that children could themselves easily create, such as a collection of small, colorful pieces of clay and a “smushed”-up mess of “pink and yellow.” Cleverly, the letters are themselves made from clay, making the words feel like pictures: The characters in the word “coiled,” for example, spiral and twirl, thereby both providing a context clue as to the word’s meeting and creating a layered, textured visual that feels like an illustration. The words and the clay creations burst with color, and many of the sculptures—such as the snake—have a sense of movement and silliness sure to delight young readers. The simple, direct text is in first person, giving the book a sense of intimacy, as though the artist is speaking directly to readers. The relative simplicity of the compositions, which float in white space, and the brevity of the text gear this to a toddler audience.

A cleverly illustrated and simply told story best for the youngest makers. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09441-9

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A bright and friendly but no more than serviceable board book.


From the World of Eric Carle series

Little readers play peekaboo with animals.

Carle’s iconic illustrations form the centerpiece of this simple lift-the-flap board book. Each double-page spread features an animal obscured by a flap (a solid block of trademark, textured Carle color) on one side and a four-line abcb stanza describing the animal on the opposite page. Readers are given hints about the hidden creature before they play peekaboo and lift the flap to reveal a monkey, horse, turtle, and more. “I’m a big cat, / but I don’t purr. / I’ve got black stripes / and bright orange fur.” Although most of the facts offered are scientifically valid, the ambiguously worded modifier for the monkey’s clue—“With my long tail, / I swing in the trees”—risks imparting the misinformation that monkeys suspend themselves from their tails. Carle’s illustrations are as recognizable to little readers as the characters on Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and the familiarity breeds appreciation. There’s nothing truly special or distinctive regarding the mechanics of this particular title, but the familiar look acts as a comfort food–esque motivation to get little ones’ attention.

A bright and friendly but no more than serviceable board book. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0105-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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