It is an enchanting evening to remember (and a fine reminder that even a primary concept can get dressed up).

MOUSEQUERADE BALL

A COUNTING TALE

From one to 10 and back again, the mice get ready for the ball.

One lone mouse begins preparations by striking a fire in the grand fireplace. Two others scurry around with brooms to swish the castle clean. “Three fine mice in black-tie suits / tighten up the strings of their thumb-strum lutes.” It is time to don a mask and waltz at the Mousequerade Ball. Eight lords twirl their walking sticks with haughty importance, and nine buccaneers tip their elaborate, feathered hats in debonair bows. However, the 10 ladies, dressed in elegant finery, suddenly let out a terrified gasp. Who has arrived at the door but a…CAT! (Alas, the dramatic double-page close-up of the cat’s face is sadly, distractingly bisected by the pages’ gutter.) Mortensen frantically trips back down the number line as mice scatter to hide: “Six eager mice race beneath a rug. / Five plump mice squeeze into a jug.” But the last mouse realizes that the cat has come for the same reason as everyone else. She proffers her little paw, and they dance the night away. The spry toes of Lewin’s tiny mice glide along the text’s sprightly beat, her signature thick, flowing black line delineating features and finery and lending the rodents personality and movement.

It is an enchanting evening to remember (and a fine reminder that even a primary concept can get dressed up). (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61963-422-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young...

THE BIGGEST KISS

This title previously published in the U.K. takes a cozy look at all kinds of kisses.

Walsh’s rhyming text is full of cutesy rhythms: “Kisses on noses, kisses on toes-es. Sudden kisses when you least supposes.” Sometimes the phrasing stumbles: “Who likes to kiss? I do! I do! Even the shy do. Why not try, too?” But toddlers and young preschoolers will probably not mind. They will be too engaged in spotting the lively penguin on each spread and too charmed by Abbot’s winsome illustrations that fittingly extend the wording in the story. Patient dogs queue up for a smooch from a frog prince, cool blue “ ’normous elephants” contrast strikingly with bright red “little tiny ants” and a bewildered monkey endures a smattering of lipstick kisses. Be the kiss small or tall, one to start or end the day, young readers are reminded that “the very best kiss… / is a kiss from you!” Perhaps no big surprise but comforting nonetheless.

Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young tyke or sharing with a gathering for storytime.     (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2769-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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Ideal for any community where children count.

COUNTING ON COMMUNITY

A difficult concept is simply and strikingly illustrated for the very youngest members of any community, with a counting exercise to boot.

From the opening invitation, “Living in community, / it's a lot of FUN! / Lets count the ways. / Lets start with ONE,” Nagaro shows an urban community that is multicultural, supportive, and happy—exactly like the neighborhoods that many families choose to live and raise their children in. Text on every other page rhymes unobtrusively. Unlike the vocabulary found in A Is for Activist (2013), this book’s is entirely age-appropriate (though some parents might not agree that picketing is a way to show “that we care”). In A Is for Activist, a cat was hidden on each page; this time, finding the duck is the game. Counting is almost peripheral to the message. On the page with “Seven bikes and scooters and helmets to share,” identifying toys in an artistic heap is confusing. There is only one helmet for five toys, unless you count the second helmet worn by the girl riding a scooter—but then there are eight items, not seven. Seven helmets and seven toys would have been clearer. That quibble aside, Nagara's graphic design skills are evident, with deep colors, interesting angles, and strong lines, in a mix of digital collage and ink.

Ideal for any community where children count. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60980-632-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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