The vibrant insects and flowers do not need any help from the gimmick to bring together a colorful spring board book.


From the Color Wonder series

Six cheerful insects in six corresponding colors celebrate spring in this board book with a color wheel.

An upbeat, four-line rhyme introduces each insect and color as bright flowers of the corresponding color fill each double-page spread. “Wake up, LADYBUG, / Look what’s here. / Spring brings RED— / march and cheer.” A variety of insects (an orange caterpillar, a yellow bumblebee, a green grasshopper, etc.) in cute cartoony illustrations with vivid colors are introduced, one at a time, in each double spread. Toddlers will enjoy the repetition: all the insects from the previous pages are included in every new page, and the rhyme repeats “Spring brings” with each color and has an action component (wiggle, prance, hop, cheer). The word spelling the color on each page is bolded in uppercase letters and written in the corresponding color, strengthening the connection. The two scalloped wheels of different sizes on the last page may be rotated with some difficulty by a toddler. They control the changing colors within a die-cut circle at the center of a large flower on each right-hand page, but they do not emulate the sequencing on a traditional color wheel. The wheels seem advanced for babies, and even for toddlers, the device may not add much value to the book.

The vibrant insects and flowers do not need any help from the gimmick to bring together a colorful spring board book. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8720-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.


You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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While the likely answer is no, this offering is still a visually captivating delight for careful little ones. (Board book....


From the Block Books series

In this ABC book, shaped pages lead readers to corresponding objects.

The usual alphabet objects are presented here in the straightforward text: “A IS FOR... // APPLE.” The graphically appealing design devotes two double-page spreads to each letter. In the first spread, the right-hand side is a full-size, die-cut letter, while the left depicts a scene. A portion of the object, animal or person the featured letter stands for peeks through the die-cut openings; a cheery, red octopus smiles through the hole of the “O,” and the tail of a fish is visible from behind the “F.” Once the letter/page is turned, the background from the previous left-hand page blends seamlessly with the full double-page spread that’s revealed. The visual hints provide a playful guessing game for young readers, with a nice balance of the easily recognizable (the nose of a train emerges from behind the “T”) to the slightly more challenging (the handle of a pair of scissors sticks out from the middle of the “S”). With a pleasing, retro feel, Peskimo’s art uses bold colors in a slightly muted hue and the weathered look of woodblock prints. The book’s construction is the only real concern, as 104 board pages are a lot for any binding. Will the die-cut letters survive the vigorous page turns of doubtless eager readers?

While the likely answer is no, this offering is still a visually captivating delight for careful little ones. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0936-4

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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