The art and writing can stand on their own while the gimmick will likely distract anyone reading aloud even as it delights...

CUDDLY COW

A FARM FRIENDS SOUND BOOK

A cow named Cuddly searches for a quiet place to hit the hay in this book with barnyard sounds supplied in an embedded sound chip.

From the cover, toddlers can push a big green button (which doubles as a speaker) to activate the chip, which features a loud moo with other animal sounds in the background; die-cut circles in the lower corner of the cover and subsequent pages ensure its accessibility throughout. Cuddly tries to bunk with the hens, a horse, and the pigs to no avail. She has a brainstorm and counts the sheep in a field and quickly falls asleep. Scheffler, of The Gruffalo fame, uses richly colored gouache to paint scenes with friendly, wide-eyed farm residents against pastoral backgrounds. Young readers may be confused to see a very bright sky in this tale set at twilight. Each one-page scene is paired with a nicely scanning quatrain set in a large font against a brightly colored background on the opposite page. In the companion title, titular Higgly Hen loses her eggs as they hatch, legs first, and then walk away. In slapstick fashion, she chases the walking eggs around the farm until she finds them all in time for them to complete their emergence. This offering sports a large yellow button that clucks realistically when pressed. The battery can be replaced by opening a panel (with a tiny Phillips screwdriver) in the back of the book, but caregivers may choose to let the noisemaker die a natural death.

The art and writing can stand on their own while the gimmick will likely distract anyone reading aloud even as it delights little ears and fingers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9325-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A disappointing twist on a popular theme. More gimmick than engaging.

NOISY DIGGER

From the I Can Learn! series

This noisy board book is designed to thrill tots fascinated with all things construction.

A tactile backhoe digger is center stage on each of the five cutout pages, complete with flaps. Brief rhyming text describes the machine’s actions as it works throughout the day. Animal characters engaged in manual labor or operating other machinery—a bulldozer, crane, road roller, and dump truck—describe more work that goes on at a construction site in small speech bubbles. Finding the mouse in every scene adds to the fun. On each page, a little bird sporting a hard hat invites young builders to press various parts of the silicone digger to activate a range of distinct sounds. The digger’s track pad sounds different from the sound of its arm moving dirt. The problem is that the digger itself is passive; the track pad and arm don’t actually move. The machine stays in the same place on every spread. The caution light beeps but doesn’t light up. Savvy kids will quickly realize that all the sounds are accessible from the first spread without having to turn the pages. The sound is the most engaging part of the book, but with only five sounds, this feature won’t hold most youngsters’ attention for long.

A disappointing twist on a popular theme. More gimmick than engaging. (Novelty board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-684-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: yesterday

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors.

BABY'S FIRST BOOK OF BIRDS & COLORS

Gorgeous birds amid foliage of similar hues introduce eight basic colors.

The two birds presented on each spread not only are of similar coloration, but also live in the same North American habitat. A scarlet tanager and a cardinal, both male, perch in a red maple tree; a male Eastern bluebird and a blue jay appear with morning glories and blueberries. The name of each color is printed in large font, while the name of each bird is in a much smaller one. Whether the bird shown is male or female, or if the male and female have similar coloring, is also indicated. The names of the trees they perch upon are identified in a note on the back cover. These details will be lost on most toddlers, but caregivers will appreciate being able to answer questions knowledgeably. Colors featured are from the standard box of crayons, except that pink is substituted for purple. Black and white share a spread. The cover image, of a cardinal, goldfinch, and bluebird in a birdbath, is not nearly as inviting as the images within. The final spread shows children (one white, one black, one Asian) assembling a puzzle that includes the same birds. This may serve as a reprise but will probably be skipped over. Bird-loving readers will probably feel that the space could have been put to better use by giving white birds their own page or adding a purple martin.

Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-742-6

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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