Fox’s playful rhymes steer young preschoolers along on this very satisfying excursion.

YOO-HOO, LADYBUG!

A ladybug that likes to hide drives the action in this cheery, rhyming romp.

“Yoo-hoo, Ladybug! Where are you?” This lilting refrain beckons children to hunt for the little beetle amid teeming, digitally rendered household toyscapes. With each page turn, the answering “There you are…” appears opposite a scene strewn with brightly colored objects. Turn again, and the page reveals both a verse answer (“tucked in a box with Rabbit and Fox!”) and a visual one, with the grinning ladybug now peeking out from within an enlarged, circular detail from the previous illustration. Ljungkvist includes enough animals, toys and recurring details—blocks that spell out the word “ladybug,” a Russian matryoshka doll, a red Swedish Dala horse and many more—to invite plenty of scrutiny. The alternating triple pattern of text on color field, the “clue” picture and the neatly rhymed “answer” page combine for a well-ordered experience that will both entertain and instruct young children. Ljungkvist’s pictures pay homage to Barbara Cooney’s Chanticleer and the Fox, Leo Lionni’s windup mouse and Pat Hutchins’ Rosie.

Fox’s playful rhymes steer young preschoolers along on this very satisfying excursion. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-3400-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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