THIS LITTLE PIGGY

The well-worn, much-loved finger-and-toe game is elucidated and embellished to a fare-thee-well in this little picture book. It's not clear why readers need to know that the second little piggy was just waiting for his brother to leave so he could skip going to market and laze in a bubble bath; or that the third little piggy ate all the roast beef slated for dinner, much to the chagrin of the fourth little piggy. Children may be beguiled, however, by the adorable illustrations in bright candy colors, by the portrait of a perky, bespectacled grandmother who tells the tale to her grandson, and by the vivid hues of the piggies' world. While the game may be more enjoyable to play than to read about, this book may inspire children to tinker with and expand upon such rhymes on their own. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-14049-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1997

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A bit of a turkey itself.

THIS LITTLE TURKEY

A board-book twist on “This Little Piggy” has turkeys making the preparations for the family feast.

The text echoes the familiar rhyme, even beginning with “This little turkey went to market.” Readers already introduced to standard animal-sounds books will wonder what happened when they get to the end and the turkeys sound a lot like the final piggy, singing, “We…we …we... / …wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!” What happened to “gobble-gobble-gobble”? Furthermore, the in-between activities feel selected to suit the rhyme scheme rather than logic: why would a turkey knit a sweater, and what does that have to do with Thanksgiving? Blanco distinguishes the turkeys from one another with clothing and comb style, but they all have the same wattle and chubby wings/arms. Gender stereotyping is incompletely avoided. A turkey in a fedora goes to market, while a turkey wearing a baseball cap and trousers with suspenders “swept the floor.” Both male and female birds help set the table, but turkeys in dresses and pompadoured combs mind the little turkeys until supper is served, knit that sweater, and eventually call everyone in to eat.

A bit of a turkey itself. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0302-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

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ROCK-A-BYE BABY

A riff on the familiar lullaby depicts various animal parents, and then a human father, soothing their sleepy little ones.

An opening spread includes the traditional first verse of the titular lullaby, but instead of depicting a human baby in a treetop cradle, the accompanying illustration shows a large tree as habitat to the animals that are highlighted on subsequent pages. First the perspective zooms in on a painterly illustration rendered in acrylics of a mother squirrel cuddling her baby with text reading “Rock-a-bye Squirrel, / high in the tree, / in Mommy’s arms, / cozy as can be.” In this spread and others the cadence doesn’t quite fit with the familiar tune, and repeated verses featuring different animals—all opening with the “Rock-a-bye” line—don’t give way to the resolution. No winds blow, no boughs break, and the repetitive forced rhythm of the verse could cause stumbles when attempting a read-aloud. The final image of a human father and baby, whose skin tone and hair texture suggest that they are perhaps of South Asian descent, provides pleasing visual resolution in a book with art that outshines text.

Ho-hum. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3753-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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