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



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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Nothing riveting but serviceable enough.


From the Storytelling Math series

Children are introduced to the concepts of sorting and classifying in this bedtime story.

It is getting close to bedtime, and Marco’s mother asks him to put his toys away. Marco—who thinks of himself as a scientist—corrects her: “You mean time to sort the animals.” And that’s what he proceeds to do. Marco sorts his animals into three baskets labeled “Flying Animals,” “Swimming Animals,” and “Animals That Move on Land,” but the animals will not sleep. So he sorts them by color: “Mostly Brown,” “Black and White,” and “Colors of the Rainbow,” but Zebra is upset to be separated from Giraffe. Next, Marco sorts his animals by size: “Small,” “Medium,” and “Large,” but the big animals are cramped and the small ones feel cold. Finally, Marco ranges them around his bed from biggest to smallest, thus providing them with space to move and helping them to feel safe. Everyone satisfied, they all go to sleep. While the plot is flimsy, the general idea that organizing and classifying can be accomplished in many different ways is clear. Young children are also presented with the concept that different classifications can lead to different results. The illustrations, while static, keep the focus clearly on the sorting taking place. Marco and his mother have brown skin. The backmatter includes an explanation of sorting in science and ideas for further activities.

Nothing riveting but serviceable enough. (Math picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62354-128-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Delightful and engaging.


Preschoolers can follow a little brown mouse on its traveling adventures in this engaging color concept book.

As the book starts, a little mouse can be seen packing up her equally itty-bitty suitcase. Rhyming text with a wonderful read-aloud rhythm introduces readers to the little mouse’s street: “Red house / Blue house / Green house / Tree house! / See the tiny mouse / in her little brown house?” Clean-lined, colorful illustrations in Gómez’s signature style lead readers along: into a flower-filled garden; on a ride on a red city bus; in a potted windowsill plant attended by a child; on the curb where a group of people wait to cross a street; in an underwater scene with “one gigantic whale!”; and on a jolly ride that employs a string of vehicles. The little mouse is not mentioned again, making it easy for readers to forget it as they get caught up in the myriad delightful details of each illustration. No problem there. The book ends with “and did you spot that mouse?” This should send children back to the beginning, this time in earnest search of the little mouse and her itty-bitty suitcase. Should children need further enticement to read the book again, travel patches on the endpapers invite readers to match them to the relevant part in the story. The people depicted are diverse both racially as well as in physical ability.

Delightful and engaging. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55381-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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