Some things just can’t be done in a book; a three-dimensional toy with similar fastenings will serve the audience better.

ZIP IT!

A FIRST BOOK OF FASTENERS

From the My Little World series

A novelty book with a clever concept struggles to overcome the challenges of execution.

The zipper on the cover seen through a bright green frog's die-cut mouth raises expectations of delight, but the zipper is too short to fully unzip, making it an unsatisfying complement to the text (“See it shut, then open wide”). Subsequent pages offer a button that fastens a pig’s snout, a duck's Velcro-flap wing, kitty's snappy collar, and mouse tails that tie in a bow; all have similar problems. They are too fragile to stand up to rough handling, too stiff to manipulate easily, and beyond both the skills and patience of the low end of the suggested audience, “Age 3 and up.” The diagrammed directions on each spread are helpful only to adults who already know how to zip, button, or snap. A mouse on the page about tying a bow admits the difficulty, saying “You might need an adult to help you here.” One strong pull of the strings is liable to tear the page. Young children will enjoy mimicking the animal sounds and lifting the duck's wing, but the rest of the book will just be frustrating. Although the pages are thick, the spine is hollow and will likely be quickly damaged.

Some things just can’t be done in a book; a three-dimensional toy with similar fastenings will serve the audience better. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58925-554-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard.

THE WIND PLAYS TRICKS

When a fierce wind descends on the barnyard, the animals hear some odd noises…and they’re coming from their own mouths.

The sudden wind unsettles all the animals on the farm just when they should be getting ready for sleep. Instead, they anxiously “cheep” and “cluck” and “oink” and “quack” and “moooo.” They shift nervously, pull together, and make all sorts of noises. All except Turtle, who tucks into his shell under an old log and sleeps. In the morning, though, the animals get a surprise. Pig says, “Cluck”; the Little Chicks say, “Neigh”; Horse crows, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.” How will they get their proper sounds back? Turtle has an idea, and he enjoys the process so much that he decides to open his mouth the next time the wind plays tricks at the farm: Perhaps he’ll catch a sound all his own. Chua’s cartoon barnyard is bright, and her animals, expressive, their faces and body language slightly anthropomorphized. The edges of the figures sometimes betray their digital origins. Though the tale is humorous and will give lots of opportunity for practicing animal sounds, the audience is hard to pin down, as the young children sure to enjoy mooing and clucking may not have the patience to sit through the somewhat lengthy text.

For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8735-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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The flat ending is disappointing for a group of characters who could have exhibited a rousing rhythmic finale.

LOST AND FOUND, WHAT'S THAT SOUND?

Just before showtime, the animals in the band must search for their instruments in the lost and found by their identifying sounds.

A mouse happily claims the trumpet after a congenial-looking rabbit clerk produces a bicycle horn, trumpet, and toy train in response to a request for an instrument that makes a “Toot! Toot! Toot!” sound. Similarly a beaver retrieves the triangle from an assortment of things that make a “Ding! Ding! Ding!” sound. An elephant and a squirrel find their piano and drum, and the band reassembles, led by their conductor, a bat. The animals’ questions are phrased in rhyming couplets: “The thing I lost goes Plink! Plank! Plunk! I play it with my big, long trunk,” explains the elephant. The simple, black-outlined cartoons against a white or pale yellow background extend the narrative so that readers are expected to discern objects with their corresponding sounds. The rabbit offers the elephant first a piggy bank (“Plink!”), then a flowerpot full of water (“Plank!”), and then a comically tiny piano (“Plunk!”). Unfortunately, as the band comes together, their meager performance reflects the bareness of this storyline. The bat ends the search and exclaims, “You found my things! They sound so grand. / One, two, three— // let’s hit it, band! / Toot! Ding! Plunk! Boom!”

The flat ending is disappointing for a group of characters who could have exhibited a rousing rhythmic finale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-238068-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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