Not an essential purchase, but this playful romp from one to 10 with a whale, lions, blue bears, pink elephants, crocodiles,...

ANIMAL NUMBERS

Rhyming text and cartoony creatures careen across the sturdy pages of this board book.

A numeral placed on one of the corners of each two-page display accompanies a rhyming couplet that identifies the animal pictured and some detail of its habitat or behavior. Of course, none of these animals or the environments they are shown in look like anything in nature, but young children won't have any trouble recognizing them. The iconic images clearly communicate each critter’s essential features. The rhymes trip nicely off the tongue, too. “In the forest, three bears scurry. / Why are they in such a hurry?” (However, shared spelling doesn't make “one” rhyme with “gone.”) In each verse the number is spelled out and enlarged to stand out prominently, as are most of the ending rhymes. Other words, mostly verbs, are also printed larger—perhaps to encourage adult readers to emphasize the action. The final spread mixes up all the animals, one whale through 10 monkeys.

Not an essential purchase, but this playful romp from one to 10 with a whale, lions, blue bears, pink elephants, crocodiles, pandas, foxes, penguins, parrots, and monkeys keeps the learning light. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6937-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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