Excellent for sharing before or after a city walk.

IN THE CITY

From the You See, I See series

A child does all the talking in this deceptively simple board book about the city adventure of a child with puffy pigtails and their lanky dad who sports a hipster’s porkpie hat.

Uncomplicated rhyming sentences are set in a blue type for what dad sees and orange for what the child notices, making their different perspectives clear. Carefully composed sketches similar in style to Jules Feiffer’s cartoons evoke the city’s hustle and bustle against white backgrounds. Seemingly casual pencil strokes deftly show dad’s and child’s changing emotions. For example, on the second spread, Dad looks up at “big skyscrapers,” while the child is more curious about a pile of newspapers. Dad seems always to have a destination—a bakery for apple strudel, a shortcut through the square—while the child is distracted by poodles and pigeons. Rural and suburban children may be confused by familiar vocabulary used in new ways, as in the sentence, “You see so much from the car” paired with a picture of the child craning to see out a subway train’s window. But everyone will understand the frustration expressed in the next line: “I cannot see very far.” Throughout, it is clear that this duo, both with light-brown skin, enjoy each other’s company.

Excellent for sharing before or after a city walk. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1500-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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