Here’s hoping Deneux can find a more developmentally appropriate package for his accessible cartoons.

JOJO'S FIRST WORD BOOK

This French import is an encyclopedic exploration of the world of a 2-year-old bunny named Jojo.

On thinner-than-normal board pages, readers learn about Jojo and his family, Jojo’s house, his neighborhood and other places he visits, and various animals. Each section is divided by a tabbed page of thick paperboard. Deneux’s graphically simple and appealing cartoons on mostly white backgrounds in warm and inviting colors are the attraction here. Everyday objects are recognizable without being boring. The disjointed animal section is the least successful, and the spider and octopus as well as many insects have incorrect numbers of legs. The text, set in a difficult-to-read scriptlike type, consists of short sentences describing the scene (there is no story here) and captions just below the objects and animals. The whole package sports a thick paperboard “house” glued to the front cover, and a handle made of cord is fastened to the spine. These gimmicks undoubtedly triggered the choking-hazard symbol (indicating that the book is inappropriate for children under 3) found on the back of the book, despite the suggestion right above it that reads “Ages 18 months and up.”

Here’s hoping Deneux can find a more developmentally appropriate package for his accessible cartoons. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-2-84801-943-7

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The flimsy construction and poor art and verse make it ill-suited for older children, too.

CHICK PEA AND THE CHANGING TREES

In this “pull-the-tab book about the seasons,” a chick and a bluebird visit the same tree throughout the year.

Readers pull none-too-sturdy sliding panels to alter the tree’s appearance. In the four internal double-page spreads, autumn leaves fall off the tree, snow covers it, blossoms speckle it, and apples change from green to red in this before-and-after interactive feature. The graphically flat art in springtime colors is rather fussy; the striped backgrounds resembling wallpaper patterns in various muted hues are an odd choice for these outdoor scenes. The rhyming verse, with stilted line breaks, describes the birds’ reactions to the changing seasons: “Chick Pea and Sweet Pea look up and see / new leaves and flowers all over the tree! / But the flowers drop their petals. / They’re starting to fall. / And Chick Pea is trying to / catch them all.” The pull-tab also reveals an additional couplet in which an unseen narrator reassures the critters and gives hints as to what the duo will see next season. While is does not point to any choking hazards, the fine print on the back of the book states that it is “Not suitable for children under 3 years of age.”

The flimsy construction and poor art and verse make it ill-suited for older children, too. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7641-6593-1

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This story’s got a moral that’s actually true to life.

PIGS IN A PICKLE

Three pigs find themselves trying but not always succeeding in this story of perseverance.

They fall out of boats, spin out of control, and often fall down, but in the end, these “pigs in a pickle know what to do. / They try again—they carry through!” In a tale that combines aspects of “This Little Piggy” and “Humpty Dumpty,” Wilhelm’s rhyming text echoes the childhood classics. Impressively, the story conveys its message about perseverance without ending sappily with a success story. In Wilhelm’s take, when you give it your “best shot,” realistically, “sometimes it works… / …and sometimes it does not.” The piggy who falls off the merry-go-round gets back up and tries again—and again he falls off. What a lesson for little readers! Salcedo’s three pigs each have their own distinctive look: one with large glasses, the second with pigtails, and the third with a round tummy. Each illustration is filled with a lot of movement thanks to well-placed lines, swirls, and squiggles, a necessary inclusion given the copious stumbling, twirling, and falling. There is also a lovely level of detail, from the suits on the playing cards to the tiny hose and ladder on the toy fire truck, though this visual complexity gears this book to the older segment of the board-book audience.

This story’s got a moral that’s actually true to life. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7896-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more