A follow-up to “Sniff,” Matthew Van Fleet’s latest mini-interactive book has the high quality of his splendid pop-ups for older readers. Each page features a lineup of animals, emphasizing tongue and taste accompanied by touch-and-feel elements like a tacky surface for a frog’s fly-catcher: “Tiger tongue scratchy, Bear tongue slick, Hippo tongue squishy, Frog tongue sticks!” The cardboard is sturdy enough to endure repeated jerking by toddler hands, and the construction capable enough to ensure that tabs function smoothly. (Not a minor issue when it comes to easily frustrated 3-year-old readers.) The photographs in Van Fleet’s books for older readers (“Dog,” “Moo”) have been replaced with simple, lightly cartoonish illustrations — each of them age-appropriate and amiable. Despite the subject’s potential gross-out subject matter, there’s little to dislike in this introductory sensory experience.
By PAMELA PAUL
Published: January 30, 2013
With incredibly sturdy pull-tabs and other tactile features, this board book will take a licking from enthusiastic toddlers. Using the expressive animal cartoons he employed in his larger-size pop-ups, Heads (2010) and Tails (2003), Van Fleet shows readers the variety of tongues in the animal world and some of their unique capabilities. Something of a tongue twister to read aloud, the rhyming text is forced on some pages and playful and droll on others: "Tongue tastes sour, Tongue tastes ICK! / Tongue tastes yummy--lick, lick, lick!" The interactive features are the real star here, from rough, slick and sticky tactile tongues to heads animated by oversized, easy-to-manipulate pull-tabs. The cleverest feature by far is the baby tiger that blows readers a Bronx cheer via a pull-tab and a noise maker embedded in the book on the very last page. Probably to keep production costs down, a couple of pages have no movable or touch-and-feel parts and may leave youngsters searching for something to do. With this offering and Sniff! (2012) already in print, one wonders if Van Fleet will take on the other three of the five senses next. Despite quibbles, this is sure to be hit with action-oriented toddlers. (Board book. 2-5)