Yet another spark for young imaginations.


Similar to Hilb’s Wiggle Giggle Tickle Train (with co-author Sharon Jennings and photographer Marcela Cabezas Hilb, 2009), this imaginative romp shows kids using nature to fuel their creative play through all the seasons of the year.

Left-hand pages feature beautiful stock photos of (mostly) nature that encompass the four seasons—a blossoming tree, rainfall, a growing pumpkin and a snowplow at work are among the 13. Right-hand pages showcase Hilb’s watercolors of children patterning their play after nature. A photo of a frog appears opposite two children jumping over a log, a rainbow prompts a coloring session and some geese flying overhead lead the children to use toy horns to copy their calls. But it is the addition of the Shapiros’ rollicking verses that truly make this an all-around enjoyable collaboration. The waterfall spread is a standout, the children pouring water from a large bucket into a smaller one on the ground: “Slosh from the big one / into the small. / Whooshing and sloshing—your own waterfall. / SPLASH!”  Rhythm and rhyme are spot-on, and the bouncy verses and onomatopoetic words are sure to catch and hold listeners’ attention. The combination of rhyme, simple vocabulary, bright colors, white backgrounds and simple details suits this beautifully for the preschool set. Hilb’s trademark style is definitely in evidence here—the pages are populated by adorable rosy-cheeked and ethnically diverse children engaged in the business of play.

Yet another spark for young imaginations. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55451-386-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Ideal for any community where children count.


A difficult concept is simply and strikingly illustrated for the very youngest members of any community, with a counting exercise to boot.

From the opening invitation, “Living in community, / it's a lot of FUN! / Lets count the ways. / Lets start with ONE,” Nagaro shows an urban community that is multicultural, supportive, and happy—exactly like the neighborhoods that many families choose to live and raise their children in. Text on every other page rhymes unobtrusively. Unlike the vocabulary found in A Is for Activist (2013), this book’s is entirely age-appropriate (though some parents might not agree that picketing is a way to show “that we care”). In A Is for Activist, a cat was hidden on each page; this time, finding the duck is the game. Counting is almost peripheral to the message. On the page with “Seven bikes and scooters and helmets to share,” identifying toys in an artistic heap is confusing. There is only one helmet for five toys, unless you count the second helmet worn by the girl riding a scooter—but then there are eight items, not seven. Seven helmets and seven toys would have been clearer. That quibble aside, Nagara's graphic design skills are evident, with deep colors, interesting angles, and strong lines, in a mix of digital collage and ink.

Ideal for any community where children count. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60980-632-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.


Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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