A clever concept is marred by a hasty, ill-considered ending.

HOORAY FOR LITTLE FINGERS!

In this concept book introducing the numbers one to 10, little fingers are invited to participate in the counting.

Five round die cuts on the cover—just the size for a handful of fingers to poke through—set the tone in this French import. Young readers are encouraged to place a finger through a hole on an elephant’s face to make its trunk: “1 little finger…tickles your nose!” As the numbers progress, children can put two fingers through the die cuts to make a crab’s claws and “pinch, pinch”; three fingers can be a ladybug’s right feet and “climb up, up, up”; four fingers can be a monkey’s extremities and “do a silly dance”; and five little fingers at the tips of a star make it look like they “twinkle, twinkle just for you.” Up to this point the book works well, but then it rushes to an unsatisfying end. After little ones count “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 little fingers…” on verso, they then count a further “and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 more!” on recto, which feels as though they’ve been asked to add 5 + 5—math beyond their years. A sixth die cut is also there: “Oh, what’s this?” Children will wonder how they can find an 11th finger. As readers turn the page they will find two hands with 10 splayed little fingers and a “wiggly, wiggly caterpillar!” creeping up the right wrist.

A clever concept is marred by a hasty, ill-considered ending. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-40801-612-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for...

HELLO LAMB

This simple board book invites little ones to greet baby farm animals (including frog, bunny, and bee) with their corresponding sounds.

The first double-page spread greets readers with a bright yellow smiling sun and the text “Hello, Sun. / Hello, Day. / Wake up, babies. / Time to play!” Each succeeding spread has a distinct, gently patterned background, with very brief text on the verso (“Hello Puppy! / Woof Woof”). Filling up the recto is a vibrant illustration of the baby animal’s face, wide eyed and smiling, outlined in black. The final spread presents the face of a cute baby with chalky brown-gray skin, bright black eyes, and short black hair: “Goo Goo.” Babies and toddlers will enjoy looking at the baby faces, animals and human, and repeating the sounds. A companion book, Goodnight Bear, has a similar pattern of text and illustrations, though the palette is suitably darker. The moon, surprisingly, has its eyes shut, and succeeding spreads depict an owlet, a baby bat, a baby hedgehog, and other familiar nocturnal baby animals, all wide-awake and smiling. The final spread depicts a cute baby with pale skin, blond hair, and closed eyes.

It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for the target audience. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0430-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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