This is not a book that kids could (or would) pick up on their own without guidance, and teachers are likely still to prefer...

HELP ME LEARN ADDITION

From the Help Me Learn series

Marzollo’s second Help Me Learn title builds on the first (Help Me Learn Numbers 0-20, 2011) but unfortunately does not fix its rhythm and rhyme flaws. 

Relating to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics for pre-K through first grade, this latest focuses on addition: counting on, skip counting, number sentences, ways to equal 10, tally marks and a few subtraction problems. But clunky verses with words chosen for rhyme rather than meaning (or even rhythm) plague these pages, and affect not just readers’ understanding, but readability as well. “What is the answer / when we add zero? / It’s what we had. / Is that clear-o?” However, the book’s largest problem is a disconnect between content and audience. The rhyming is appropriate for the younger end of the spectrum but may turn off the older kids, and the tally marks and 3- and 4-digit addition sentences are going to be beyond the younger kids, especially since the math is not really explained. Many of the tiny objects from the first book make a reappearance here in Phillips’ photos, but there are some interesting new additions, most notably colorful marbles and some bright and cheerful aliens.

This is not a book that kids could (or would) pick up on their own without guidance, and teachers are likely still to prefer to use old favorites that do it well. (Math picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-23989

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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For Berkner’s fans; there are much better books about children visiting imaginative lands.

PILLOWLAND

Berkner’s children’s song gets the picture-book treatment with illustrations from Garoche.

What kid hasn’t made a massive pillow fort and imagined all sorts of adventures? Well, Berkner’s premise is that there is a land where everything is made of pillows, and three lucky children get to visit there. (They appear to be siblings, perhaps a blended family: Mom and one girl are black; Dad, one boy, and one girl are white.) The illustrations transition between depictions of obvious imaginative play in a bedroom to a fantasy world and back again at the end, when the parents peek in at the three asleep. Garoche’s art consists of photos of papercut artwork arranged in dioramas with some Photoshop details. Reminiscent of Michael Garland’s work (though more pastel in color) or that of Elly McKay (though less ethereal), the illustrations are a mixed bag, with layers and hard edges juxtaposed against all the pillows. The king and queen of the song are obviously stand-ins for the parents. Children who know the tune may not sit still for a reading, while those who don’t may wonder at the repeated refrain.

For Berkner’s fans; there are much better books about children visiting imaginative lands. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6467-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A picture book made to incite pleasure and joy.

THE NONSENSE SHOW

The celebrated picture-book artist enthusiastically joins the nonsense tradition. 

Carle’s nearly 50-year career has produced myriad concept books about counting, the alphabet, and colors, as well as simple, original stories, retellings of fairy tales, and picture books that push the physical boundaries of the form. This latest proves that Carle can reinvent himself as a creator in the field, as he now revels in the absurd, eschewing any pretense of teaching a concept or even engaging with story. Instead, spread after spread uses nonsensical text and sublimely ridiculous pictures to provoke laughter and head-shaking delight. In addition to the book’s title, art immediately cues the book’s silly tone: the cover displays one of Carle’s signature collages against an empty white background; it depicts a duckling emerging from a peeled-back banana peel. The title-page art presents a deer sprouting flowers rather than antlers from its head. When the book proper begins, and language joins illustration, readers are ushered into a series of situations and scenarios that upend expectations and play with conventions. “Ouch! Who’s that in my pouch?” asks a kangaroo with a little blond child instead of a joey in her pouch. Another scene shows two snakes, joined at the middle and looking for their respective tails.

A picture book made to incite pleasure and joy. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17687-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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