SCRUBBA DUB

Van Laan is known and respected for her abilities with story rhymes. In Scrubba Dub’s pre-cursor, Tickle Tum (2001), also illustrated by Pons, the verse moves the story forward and delivers fresh ideas to make supper time more palatable. This bath-time account, however, is rather soggy. The text stumbles from rhymes into halting, herky-jerky tongue stoppers. It begins well enough as a toddler bunny is undressed and prepared for cleansing, “Ewww yuck / sticka stuck! Off goes romper suit / tug tug pull. / Off go sneaker sneaks / tubba tub’s full.” But the reader is soon fumbling for verbal equilibrium and struggling with quasi-words as in “Tippitta dippitta tugboat toots.” The illustrations, in powdery purples and blues, depict tub scenes familiar (and ordinary) to youngsters, e.g. toys, bubbles, soap, water. Clearly happy and harmonious, mommy and babies faces are beaming with love. Pons’s softly lit paintings use watercolors and chalk to appealing effect and her artwork saves this story, but Scrubba Dub as a whole doesn’t offer up anything new or interesting to the saturated bath theme market. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-84459-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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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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