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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For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

BUGS!

From the DR. Books series

There’s plenty of information and instruction crammed into this 5 ½-inch-square board book.

Hutton starts with the opening lines of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” leaving blanks to indicate where readers should fill in key words. Caregivers of toddlers who do not know the song will need to supply the words until their children are familiar enough with it to play the game. On the third page the tone shifts to conversational questioning, providing a model of dialogic reading. The adult reader speaks directly to the child: “Did you just see a bug? What kind of bug was it?…Was it BIG or small? Inside or outside?” The next six pages continue in that vein, providing information in response to the questions. Pages 11 and 12 refer to the rhyme again: “What’s that spider doing? Yes, it’s climbing! Climbing up a water spout! Climbing up a water spout at Grandpa’s house!” This method of repetition and expansion on an idea is excellent practice for beginning readers, but again, toddlers may need time to adjust. The final spread returns to a question likely to engage toddlers, with no practice necessary: “What’s your favorite kind of bug?” Colorful illustrations in shades of blue, green, and brown are only semirealistic; they emphasize a friendly look instead of a creepy one, potentially disappointing for young entomologists fascinated by the real thing.

For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-936669-80-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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100 FIRST WORDS

The titular words are divided by topic with animals participating along the way.

This board book reads exactly as expected. Common “first words” are organized into thematic sections like “toys and games,” “at the park,” and “things that go.” Wide-eyed animals are shown riding on a bus, using the potty, and talking on a cellphone (labeled telephone). All of the scenes and words are fairly predictable, making it familiar to toddlers but not necessarily exposing them to new vocabulary unless this is truly the first of its ilk they are reading. The “parts of the body” pages use three monkeys to demonstrate those parts, omitting tail, ears, and facial features. The choice of monkey rather than human models is an odd one, since this book is meant for very young learners just beginning to name and identify these parts of their own bodies. The “things that go” spread is the most visually interesting—possibly overstimulating for younger readers. There is plenty for caregivers to talk about with children here, in contrast to the bare-bones “clothes” spread, for example. The illustrations are cutesy and two-dimensional. This makes the pictures easy to identify, but it also means they lack detail and complexity. Sturdy and sized for small hands, this book does indeed present 100 words but offers little to make it stand out among the many other similar titles already on shelves.

Does the job. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-687-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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