A bright and friendly but no more than serviceable board book.

MY FIRST PEEK-A-BOO ANIMALS

From the World of Eric Carle series

Little readers play peekaboo with animals.

Carle’s iconic illustrations form the centerpiece of this simple lift-the-flap board book. Each double-page spread features an animal obscured by a flap (a solid block of trademark, textured Carle color) on one side and a four-line abcb stanza describing the animal on the opposite page. Readers are given hints about the hidden creature before they play peekaboo and lift the flap to reveal a monkey, horse, turtle, and more. “I’m a big cat, / but I don’t purr. / I’ve got black stripes / and bright orange fur.” Although most of the facts offered are scientifically valid, the ambiguously worded modifier for the monkey’s clue—“With my long tail, / I swing in the trees”—risks imparting the misinformation that monkeys suspend themselves from their tails. Carle’s illustrations are as recognizable to little readers as the characters on Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and the familiarity breeds appreciation. There’s nothing truly special or distinctive regarding the mechanics of this particular title, but the familiar look acts as a comfort food–esque motivation to get little ones’ attention.

A bright and friendly but no more than serviceable board book. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0105-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Sounds like a winner, though the animal chorus is a bit thin.

CRUNCH! MUNCH! BUNNY

Bunny hunts for carrots but finds noisy animal babies behind each flap instead.

“Bunny hops out of her burrow, / she’s looking for carrots to eat. / Can you help this fluffy friend / find a tasty treat?” The baaas, quacks, chirps, and horsey clip-clopping—activated by light as each of the first four big, shaped flaps lift—are gratifyingly loud and clear. All of the animal figures in the bright color pictures are intensely cute plush toys inserted into simple outdoorsy mixes of painted greenery and photographed flowers and bugs. Even the heaped carrots hiding behind the fifth and final flap are soft and fuzzy, though you’d never know that from the sound as Bunny hops on them (with a really loud boing) and chows down with crunches so comically amplified and rapid that caregivers too will laugh (at least the first dozen or so go-rounds). As no pressing of buttons is required to cue the sound effects, Bunny’s miniodyssey is suited to sharing at a slight remove with groups of toddlers as well as one-on-one. Batteries are replaceable, and there is (thankfully) an on-off switch on the rear cover.

Sounds like a winner, though the animal chorus is a bit thin. (Novelty board book. 18 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4654-7853-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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A cleverly illustrated and simply told story best for the youngest makers.

PLAY WITH CLAY!

From the Lil' SmARTies series

It’s so much fun to play with clay!

There is so much that can be done with just a little bit of clay. On each page of this board book, a piece of clay is transformed into something new. It begins as a “blob” and then becomes a “ball,” a “snake,” a “flowerpot,” and a “flower,” among other things. Included among these intricate designs are images that children could themselves easily create, such as a collection of small, colorful pieces of clay and a “smushed”-up mess of “pink and yellow.” Cleverly, the letters are themselves made from clay, making the words feel like pictures: The characters in the word “coiled,” for example, spiral and twirl, thereby both providing a context clue as to the word’s meeting and creating a layered, textured visual that feels like an illustration. The words and the clay creations burst with color, and many of the sculptures—such as the snake—have a sense of movement and silliness sure to delight young readers. The simple, direct text is in first person, giving the book a sense of intimacy, as though the artist is speaking directly to readers. The relative simplicity of the compositions, which float in white space, and the brevity of the text gear this to a toddler audience.

A cleverly illustrated and simply told story best for the youngest makers. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09441-9

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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