A pleasant concept book to integrate counting, mountain habitats, and language arts.

BLUE RIDGE BABIES 1, 2, 3

A COUNTING BOOK

This variation on a popular counting song combines numbers with animals from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In “Over in the Meadow,” a counting poem–turned–traditional song for children, an animal mother asks her babies to perform a task in a rhythmic call-and-response. Each stanza, in turn, adds a sequential number to promote counting. This adaptation uses the refrain “Over in the Blue Ridge” to introduce animals from the region. Double-page spreads in earthy hues showcase a variety of scenes with charming, smiling animals populating land, sky, and water: Foxes pounce in a thicket; cardinals fly from a dogwood tree; brook trout swim in a creek. As in the original, animal mothers call on their numbered babies to act. A mother salamander, for instance, appeals to her 10 young efts: “ ‘Slither,’ said the mother. ‘We slither,’ said the TEN. / So they slithered in the mud of the boggy mountain fen.” Boldface text highlights the action words while cardinal numbers are emphasized in capital letters and different colors. Numerals beside each offspring also aid beginning counters. A final spread wraps up the song with all of the animal families featured together. A concluding section simply states that the Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountains, but it provides more details about each animal as well as the score to the song.

A pleasant concept book to integrate counting, mountain habitats, and language arts. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64567-083-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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