I AM LITTLE FISH!

A FINGER PUPPET BOOK

From the Little Fish series

There’s more puppetry than poetry in this slight but entertaining underwater adventure.

Little Fish is a colorful finger-puppet character who comes to life with a little help from the reader. The animated protagonist swims through the cover scene and seven double-page spreads of bright and simply rendered underwater scenes via a series of die-cut holes in the pages of the book. The rhymed text provides exposition if not much plot: “Hello! I am Little Fish, swimming in the sea. I love to splash and splish. Come and play with me.” The brightly hued finger puppet projects beyond the cover of the book and protrudes through each scenario within, as the cloth tube that invites fingertips to animate Little Fish is thick and stiff, resisting collapse. An odd consequence of that is that it seems to limit the finger puppet’s range of motion. Little Fish can be moved side to side or vertically, up and down, but as the puppet doesn’t collapse, it can’t swim out through the die-cut holes, nor explore in many different directions, either. The cartoonish artwork is appealing; Little Fish’s undersea friends swim against a deep blue background punctuated by occasional bubbles or underwater plants. The book ends happily, with a tribute to Mom, “the one,” Little Fish admits, “I love the best.”

Fun if not profound. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0023-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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The small size, a predictable winter adventure, and Boynton’s very toddlerlike character make this a fine stocking stuffer...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, LITTLE POOKIE

Seven years after Little Pookie (2011) first appeared, this popular piglet is finally celebrating Christmas.

“Oh Pookie! Come look! It’s beginning to snow,” says a maternal-looking pig. But where did Pookie go? Past the Christmas tree, to put on a snowsuit of course. Pookie’s ever cheerful mama is willing to go out too. After all, “It’s a magical time to be walking with you.” When she observes, “Our noses are frozen. It’s time to go in,” Pookie protests in typical toddler style: “But I’m not c-c-c-cold!” The next three pages highlight indoor holiday preparations—making paper garlands, baking and decorating cookies. The rhyming text mirrors the spare illustrations. A spidery type that emulates handwriting makes it clear when Pookie is speaking. Then “the doorbell is ringing. / Our family and friends have arrived for the singing.” The second-to-last spread shows Pookie, mama, and six other pigs—and Boynton’s requisite chicken—singing (“Con brio”), “MER-RY CHRIST-MAS! MER-RY CHRIST-MAS! AND A HAP-PY NEW YEAR!” Conveniently, this text is placed beneath the musical notation. Finally Pookie hangs a stocking and goes off to bed without any fuss, anticipating presents on Christmas morning.

The small size, a predictable winter adventure, and Boynton’s very toddlerlike character make this a fine stocking stuffer or an ideal Christmas Eve read to share with other little piggies. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3724-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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