These explorations are limited.



From the Alain Grée - Let's Explore series

Riddles give hints about a dog’s life in an idyllic garden.

The lessons begin on the first page with unnecessary instruction on how to use the book. Romeo is an anthropomorphic orange mutt with a white snout, expressive green eyes, and boundless curiosity. On each spread Romeo asks a question, set in clean, sans-serif type, about something found in a garden. For example: “In the garden, what has a trunk, branches, and many leaves?” A page turn reveals the answer—“A tree”—in a larger font on the upper left. The cheery art with multiple scenes per page has a retro feel, no doubt due to the fact that French illustrator Grée’s heyday was in the 1960s and ’70s; these images have been repurposed from earlier books. Details in the pictures, which feature Romeo, a multiracial cast of children, and various bugs, animals, butterflies, and birds, add more information. Romeo’s costume changes frequently. On the page about bees, he is wearing a beekeeper’s veil; he wears a striped sunsuit on the tree and wheelbarrow pages and, oddly, what looks like a motorcycle helmet on the page about rain. The formal, pedantic text of this British import sounds stilted: “Which prickly animals that sleep curled up might you see in the garden?” The answer, a hedgehog, will likely puzzle readers in the U.S., where hedgehogs live in zoos, not the backyard.

These explorations are limited. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78708-015-7

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Button Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed.


From the Baby University series

This book presents a simplified explanation of the role the atmosphere plays in controlling climate.

The authors present a planet as a ball and its atmosphere as a blanket that envelops the ball. If the blanket is thick, the planet will be hot, as is the case for Venus. If the blanket is thin, the planet is cold, as with Mars. Planet Earth has a blanket that traps “just the right amount of heat.” The authors explain trees, animals, and oceans are part of what makes Earth’s atmosphere “just right.” “But…Uh-oh! People on Earth are changing the blanket!” The book goes on to explain how some human activities are sending “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, thus “making the blanket heavier and thicker” and “making Earth feel unwell.” In the case of a planet feeling unwell, what would the symptoms be? Sea-level rises that lead to erosion, flooding, and island loss, along with extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, blizzards, and wildfires. Ending on a constructive note, the authors name a few of the remedies to “help our Earth before it’s too late!” By using the blanket analogy, alongside simple and clear illustrations, this otherwise complex topic becomes very accessible to young children, though caregivers will need to help with the specialized vocabulary.

Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8082-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.


From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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