An endearing introduction to the life of a fox kit.

A KIT STORY

From the Animal Story series

Throughout the four seasons of the year, a fox kit explores the world outside its den.

The book opens with a woodland scene featuring multiple animals as the first-person narrator poses a question directly to readers: “I am a fox. Do you see me?” It is springtime, and while the other animals are active during the day and night, the little fox prefers to “slink” at dusk and dawn. The story quickly transitions to summer, and readers follow the agile young fox as it hunts, feeds, and sleeps. In the autumn, we see the fox playing with its sister and chasing rabbits. The closing spreads find the winsome creature in its den with its family as they “curl into slumber balls” for the winter. With the verbal motif compared to used all throughout the story, the kit points out how it is dissimilar to other wild creatures. For instance, compared to hummingbirds, who fly near the kit as it speeds across the grass, the kit is slow; but compared to a turtle, the kit is fast. The text features descriptive action verbs: The fox sees lambs who gambol, owls who swoop, and its sister who leaps and pounces. Animals are slightly anthropomorphized (a turtle glares at the kit as it races by, and the kit refers to its mother as “my mama”) but not problematically. Overall, children learn the basics about the habitats, habits, and diet of foxes (though the kit is not shown eating other animals). Rendered in gouache, colored pencil, ink, and digital mixed media, the soft, cozy illustrations are warm and inviting.

An endearing introduction to the life of a fox kit. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7459-4

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over.

NOISY TRACTOR

From the I Can Learn series

Little ones can explore a day in the life of a rubber-covered, audio-enabled tractor.

The “5 noisy parts!” promised on the cover are powered by a battery embedded in the back of the book, the compartment securely screwed shut. Youngsters are prompted by the text to press various parts of the tractor to make interesting sound effects, such as an engine starting then chugging, a horn, and tire noise on muddy or rocky terrain. A large, tractor-shaped die-cut hole in every page allows children to access the vehicle on every double-page spread but leaves the left-hand pages dominated by that tractor-shaped hole. Farm animals make their signature sounds via speech bubble (horses, chicks, and cows, to name a few) along with other critters offering suggestions about which buttons on the tractor to press. For additional play value, a ladybug and a caterpillar can be spotted on every double-page spread. Labels for most of the animals appear in a clear font along with other farm-centric vocabulary words: pitchfork, seedlings, trough. Elliott’s art is busy, but the simple, eye-catching patterns and graphically clean lines in bright colors will appeal to the audience. While this offering is perfect for toddlers, the extensive warnings in the fine print on the back of the book about what may happen if the button battery is swallowed should scare adults into being vigilant. Thankfully, there is an on/off switch allowing for toggling between a quiet and noisy reading experience.

Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-669-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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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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