Just the ticket for a little bit of learning on a cold winter day when spring seems far away.

HOORAY FOR HOPPY!

Little ones can explore spring and their five senses along with bunny Hoppy in Hopgood’s latest concept book.

The story itself is very simple: Hoppy is waiting for spring, and each day, tests the sights, smells and feelings from the top of his burrow. “Too cold” and “too icy” are followed by a beautiful spring day, with birdsong, the scent of flowers, lambs in the meadow, the taste of fresh grass and the warmth of the ground. And do not forget the joys of sharing all these wonderful spring harbingers with friends. It will be hard for readers to remain unmoved in the presence of the energetic and life-loving Hoppy, his nose an endearing pink heart. His every emotional is writ large in the collage-style illustrations (they appear to be digital, though the textures are those of many media, including chalk and crayon), and it won’t be long before they are chiming in with every one of Hoppy’s “Hooray!”s. Hopgood’s scribbly style will appeal to budding artists, and his colors evoke spring. A double-page spread in the backmatter lists the five senses and asks readers what they can hear, smell, see, taste and touch, bringing the lesson back to the story with small inset pictures of the things Hoppy sensed and asking readers to identify them.

Just the ticket for a little bit of learning on a cold winter day when spring seems far away. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30129-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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