A South African import with echoes of “Chicken Little” and other absurd chain-of-events tales.

When a little guinea fowl chick cheeps in the South African veldt, it sets off a chain reaction that causes a frenzy among the other animals. Rhyming, “House That Jack Built”–style verse details how an elephant stomps, which makes a kudu lift its horns and prick a monkey that lets out a scream, and so on. No, the sky isn’t falling, but the hubbub created by the animals grows until a “ranger” (depicted as a young brown-skinned child) declares “I’LL SAVE EVERYONE!” as the animals crash into his small house. A “quiet and wise” owl observes the chaos from a tall treetop and commands, “STOP!” The animals frantically describe a terrible beast they’ve heard, which an accompanying illustration depicts as a composite character made of up the very same creatures who’ve caused all the upset and noise in their cumulative actions. The owl dismisses them and says it was just the chick who let out that first little cheep. And, “where is THAT chick that let out the CHEEP?” A final page turn reveals that “she’s back in the nest, FAST ASLEEP!” This satisfying conclusion rounds out a humorous read that’s enhanced throughout the book by Rankin’s energetic watercolor-and-ink illustrations with their sketchy linework and great sense of movement.

A definite hit. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56656-039-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young...


This title previously published in the U.K. takes a cozy look at all kinds of kisses.

Walsh’s rhyming text is full of cutesy rhythms: “Kisses on noses, kisses on toes-es. Sudden kisses when you least supposes.” Sometimes the phrasing stumbles: “Who likes to kiss? I do! I do! Even the shy do. Why not try, too?” But toddlers and young preschoolers will probably not mind. They will be too engaged in spotting the lively penguin on each spread and too charmed by Abbot’s winsome illustrations that fittingly extend the wording in the story. Patient dogs queue up for a smooch from a frog prince, cool blue “ ’normous elephants” contrast strikingly with bright red “little tiny ants” and a bewildered monkey endures a smattering of lipstick kisses. Be the kiss small or tall, one to start or end the day, young readers are reminded that “the very best kiss… / is a kiss from you!” Perhaps no big surprise but comforting nonetheless.

Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young tyke or sharing with a gathering for storytime.     (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2769-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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