Repeated quacks and a fair bit of waddling are guaranteed to quack up toddlers.

QUACK!

If it quacks like a duck…it’s just fun.

Digitally designed caricatures of 10 animals populate the 20 pages of this simple adventure that also functions as a counting book. Oversized 9-inch-square pages provide room for an ever growing cast of animal characters who don’t understand duck language. On the inside cover, the duck meets “ONE very BIG [and purple] elephant” and then two giraffes, three horses, four pigs, five monkeys, six flamingos, seven grasshoppers, eight spiders, and nine bluebirds. To each it says, “Quack!” and when it’s not understood, “the duck just kept waddling….” The text is somewhat longer than in most board books, but the repeated sentence structure keeps it accessible. Number words and names of critters are in a larger font, which helps young children focus on this key information. Each animal busily does what that animal is best known for (eating leaves, grazing, rolling in mud, etc.). As a clever nod to a traditional counting song, the monkeys are jumping on the bed. On the next spread, the duck sees the flamingos standing on one leg and “wondered what the other leg was for.” This joke will amuse adults but goes right past young children. However, they will want to pause on each spread to count the animals and “Quack!” with the duck. When at last the duck sees 10 other ducks, the volley of reply quacks invites readers to join in.

Repeated quacks and a fair bit of waddling are guaranteed to quack up toddlers. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-486713-85-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.

FIVE BLACK CATS

A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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