Is there a monster at the end of this book or a monster reading this book? Your call.

MONSTER'S TRUCKS

Three picture-book trends collide when monster books meet interactive books meet construction books.

Now meet Monster. On the other hand, don’t meet Monster. He’s a bit of a greedy fellow (a sin that seemingly excuses the tortures soon to be visited upon him), unwilling to share his construction equipment. That won’t stop young readers from messing with him, of course. Quite the opposite. One can imagine the glee with which kids will defy Monster’s howls of protest to pull a painted lever, push an arrestingly red button, tip the book, and even sneeze in order to disturb their blue, furry victim. In an impressive two-page display, kids are eventually invited to play with all the levers, buttons, switches and nodules they like. In doing so they construct a tree fort for Monster, who seems a little more willing now to share. Sutphin’s colorful cartoons give Monster a wide-mouthed wackiness perfectly in keeping with his trials. At times, it can feel as though readers are putting poor Monster through too much, but the presentation has a distinct Wile E. Coyote vibe that alleviates some of the discomfort. All interactions are imaginary, à la Hervé Tullet; there are no tabs or flaps to manipulate (or tear off).

Is there a monster at the end of this book or a monster reading this book? Your call. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68119-301-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Purchase for some temporary interactive Halloween fun.

MY MAGICAL WITCH

From the My Magical Friends series

Four green-faced witches fly through this durable board book looking for Halloween fun.

A turn of the notched wheel embedded in the cover page changes the sparkly stripes on a witch’s hat, cape, and broom. Three more witches join the fun inside. Though not identified by gender, all wear dresses. All the interactive elements are focused on the first witch, who wears fluffy orange hair in two pigtails. One slider simultaneously lifts a broom and plops a straight hat on top of that hair. Another slides the witch across the night sky. A second wheel shows the ingredients being added to a cauldron. A final slider magically produces three black cats. Two lines of (uncredited) rhyming text on each of the four double-page spreads hint at what the interactive element will reveal. While the text is conveniently placed in the same spot on each spread, the vocabulary is peppered with reach words for the toddler audience: “Off they swooped on whizzing brooms, / heading for the potions room.” Mice, pumpkins, spiderwebs, owls, brooms, bats, and other thematically appropriate objects and creatures scattered across the busy pages place the book firmly in the Halloween genre. Unnamed and primarily decorative, these seemingly arbitrary additions distract from the slight story thread. Toddlers will readily manipulate the five smoothly performing interactive elements; unfortunately, the text and pictures are not equally enticing.

Purchase for some temporary interactive Halloween fun. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4463-1

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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