It’s slight, but it’ll be enjoyed by little siblings who have been looking for their own personal intros to Big Nate

LITTLE BIG NATE DRAWS A BLANK

Young Nate brainstorms different animals he might draw before falling asleep.

In this junior version of Peirce’s popular Big Nate series, a gap-toothed, preschool-age Nate sees possibilities in his “brand-new box of crayons.” In silly rhyming couplets with a pleasant cadence, Nate lists and imagines animals he might draw but quickly rejects his ideas: a toad as “too bumpy!” or a cricket as “too jumpy!” On the final page, Nate fulfills the title’s wordplay and drifts off having “draw[n] a blank,” never committing to any drawing at all. Since it features a well-known character, drawn in Peirce’s familiar cartoon style, this board book will have a built-in fan base waiting to fall in love with little Big Nate. Unfortunately, the ending falls flat, making the book come across more as a series of illustrations designed around a forced joke than a worthy story of its own. Still, it’s a visual treat: Nate’s face is wonderfully expressive, and there’s a sweetly unpolished feeling about the drawings Nate imagines, which mimic a child’s spontaneity. Young readers will be drawn to the comical touches, like a “too chilly” penguin wearing a knitted wool cap or a “too inky” octopus, all in bold saturated colors. Alas, the “too silly” monkey with bananas in its ears will alienate readers familiar with the degrading, historical association of monkeys with people of African descent.

It’s slight, but it’ll be enjoyed by little siblings who have been looking for their own personal intros to Big Nate . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5248-5178-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Out of all the titles in the series, Goldilocks’ adventures are the most cogent and age-appropriate.

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

From the Les Petit Fairytales series

The flaxen-haired tyke makes her infamous visit to the bears’ house in this simplified adaptation.

The classic story is told with minimal text, one or two words per double-page spread. Goldilocks uses speech bubbles to describe the porridge, chairs and beds (“Too hot. / Too cold. / Just right”). The bears look bemused when they find the girl snoozing in Baby Bear’s bed, and they offer an amicable and winsome goodbye when she dashes off. The richly colored cartoons, likely created with the aid of a computer, present friendly-looking characters with oversize heads. The companion release is a stripped-down version of “Little Red Riding Hood” following the same format and style, right down to the sparkly heroine’s outfit and glittery letters employed on the cover. Youngsters unfamiliar with the story may need adult help to understand that the friendly, cross-dressing wolf has actually swallowed Grandma, since all the readers see is a “Woodsman” examining the wolf’s teeth and then sending the predator away in shame.

Out of all the titles in the series, Goldilocks’ adventures are the most cogent and age-appropriate. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9912-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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