Good manners travel well in this board book for preschool linguists.

HOW PENGUIN SAYS PLEASE!

From the Little Traveler series

A brief, age-appropriate introduction to eight common world languages for toddler travelers.

Following the formula established in How Hippo Says Hello and How Gator Says Good-Bye (both 2014), Samoun tackles manners with a nondidactic and international flair. Without scolding, this book and its companion title, How Tiger Says Thank You, demonstrate courtesies common to cultures all over the world. The same eight countries (France, Russia, Egypt, India, China, Japan, Argentina, and the United States) are included in each book. A phonetic pronunciation guide is provided below each word, though sometimes the transliteration is as puzzling as the actual spelling. (Readers may find themselves wondering how to pronounce “ZHA” or “TCH.”) Smiling cartoon animals show the influence of the illustrator's prior experience as a designer for Carter's baby clothes and International Greetings. Background illustrations in muted hues hint at the flavor of each country while keeping readers focused on the words in speech bubbles. Tourist sites are not identified, though well-traveled adults may recognize many of the locations (the Hermitage in Russia, Mount Fuji in Japan, the pyramids in Egypt). The travel map on the last spread is identical in each book; perhaps the animals are traveling together.

Good manners travel well in this board book for preschool linguists. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1496-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.

FIVE BLACK CATS

A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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