Children in urban settings will recognize this city’s feel, while suburban or rural children will be equally happy to join...

CITYBLOCK

From the Block Books series

The latest addition to Franceschelli and Peskimo's (Dinoblock, 2015, etc.) collection of very thick board books exploits all the possibilities of the format.

The initial foldouts reveal a question—“How will we get around?”—and hint at modes of transportation to come: subway, taxi, bus, ferry, foot, and helicopter. That would be enough for most board books, but the story continues with “What can we do?” and “What should we eat?” before the final 20-inch panorama of the city at night. Along the way, the design team Peskimo varies its retro palette depending on the image. A carousel is bright and lively, while the view from an observatory is more muted. Shades of blue and turquoise on almost every page act as a visual throughline, and die cuts keep young children turning the pages. The story follows a white-haired, spectacled elder (who looks rather like Albert Einstein) and two children—one white, one brown—through a busy day in a diverse city. They visit dinosaurs in a natural history museum, a soccer game, a flea market, and more. That they visit a bookstore instead of a library and shop for souvenirs suggest that perhaps they are tourists. Their day's menu includes common treats: an apple, pizza, nachos, sushi, and ice cream.

Children in urban settings will recognize this city’s feel, while suburban or rural children will be equally happy to join in the adventure. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2189-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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