For emergent readers, this abecedarian tour of the animal world is an excellent choice.

PICTURE BOOK: There's an N on Your Nose

A host of animal children play with the letters in this beautifully illustrated picture book.

When a koala wakes, there’s a letter N balancing on the animal’s nose. A penguin looks down at the T on its toes. As the poem progresses, an elephant, a lion cub, a monkey, a giraffe, some quokkas, and more get ready for school as letters dance across the pages, spelling out whatever part of the body the poem describes. Maris’ illustrations position the first letters of words directly on the animal, with the rest of the word dangling from a clothesline that bisects the illustration. Some of the animals are paired with the letter that starts their name (the elephant has E for eyes and ears, the llama has an L for lips), but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Canfield’s silly poem scans well, and the simple vocabulary and short phrases, paired with the emphasis on letters, make this a perfect choice for newly independent readers growing their skills. Maris’ painterly illustrations feature realistic looking animals dressed in clothing and accessories. The elephant wears glasses, and the giraffe has a prosthetic leg. The appealing characters are well textured, with fur that looks soft to the touch.

For emergent readers, this abecedarian tour of the animal world is an excellent choice.

Pub Date: April 1, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-9852756-1-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Well Spoken Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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