Painless counting practice for construction-truck fans.

PUSH! DIG! SCOOP!

A CONSTRUCTION COUNTING RHYME

Anthropomorphic mother and father construction trucks teach their young ones how to do their jobs in this counting book/singalong.

“Over by the dirt pile in the sizzling summer sun / works a mama bulldozer with her little dozer ONE. / ‘Push!’ says the mama. ‘I push!’ says the one. / So they push oosh oosh in the sizzling summer sun.” The tune (“Over in the Meadow”) is a familiar one, especially since so many recent books use it in similar fashion, but the addition of the sound effects (strange as some may seem) is a nice touch that will be appreciated by storytime audiences. Both mother and father trucks are pictured, and gender is delineated with accessories (all stereotypical), eyelashes (only on the mothers), and the relative thickness of eyebrows. A few wear glasses, and one wears a patch over one eye. The equipment includes excavators, wheel loaders, dump trucks, pipe layers, cement mixers, cranes, graders, asphalt pavers, and steamrollers. At the end of their hard day, they celebrate, hose off, and snuggle in for lullabies. Though those reading aloud may stumble over a few verses with off rhythms, little ones who love construction sites may be too busy poring over the digitally colored ink drawings of their favorite trucks to notice.

Painless counting practice for construction-truck fans. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3506-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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