Interactive fun, on a certain elemental level—but there are apps aplenty with more and better noises as well as animation to...

AND THE COW SAID

One uninvited animal guest after another drives a farmer out of his house in this noisy nighttime romp.

Poor Farmer Bill is just about to go to bed on a rainy night when there’s a knock at the door. “He opened it up, and a head peeked through. / It was a cow, and the cow said…MOO!” The cow is only the first in a line of livestock that troops in, one at a time, or lurks in wait outside to bleat, squeak, bark, or utter some other characteristic call at the (firm) press of a white spot on each animal’s body. The chip embedded in the rear cover having no fewer than 10 separate sounds programmed in, Farmer Bill finds no rest—not even up on the roof, where a rooster waits to “bellow” its morning greeting as the sun comes up on a climactic animal chorus. The noises are more familiar (and less gross) than in the similarly polyphonic Ten Monsters in the Bed (2015), which some at least may see as a good thing, but on the final page the contact spots are both unmarked and mostly not located where the animals are. Hearing the farm creatures sound off again will require pressing at random and hoping for a result. On the other hand, the chip’s battery is replaceable, so this is less ephemeral than others of its sort.

Interactive fun, on a certain elemental level—but there are apps aplenty with more and better noises as well as animation to go along with the audio. (Novelty picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0101-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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