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Some miscues but overall an engaging entry in the seek-and-find genre.

A fresh set of broad, busy visual scrambles from the creators of An Alphabet of Alphabets (2018).

In cartoon scenes rendered with a retro look, illustrator Sanders goes from one unicyclist up to a teeming orchestra with 20 choristers and 188 instruments to spot, followed by a U.S. map with the states identified just by initials and a building site with 100 hard hats to count. Along the way, he strews triads of folktale characters (bears, goats, mice, etc.) on one spread, arranges sextets of knights and cannonballs throughout a cutaway castle on another, and invites viewers to identify the occupations of 11 train passengers, trace a maze to match 17 items with their owners, and like challenges. Efforts throughout to reflect at least a modicum of racial diversity in depictions of human figures may run aground on an Ark full of pairs including a white Noah and his equally pale wife—not to mention the stereotypical feather-headdressed Native American with teepee and totem pole in North Dakota—but do put this one up on some of Waldo’s more parochial excursions. Also, younger or less visually acute viewers may find the art’s clean lines and harmonious color schemes easier on the eye than more-challenging albums like Manuela Ancutici’s I Spy 123, with photographs by Ruth Prenting (2017), or even Walter Wick’s classics.

Some miscues but overall an engaging entry in the seek-and-find genre. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78603-537-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A mixed bag.

An alphabetical tour of emotions.

This British import mixes words that many young kids will know, such as brave, kind, and mad (the last defined in the American sense, as angry), with less-familiar ones such as overwhelmed and vulnerable. It even features at least one word that may be new to adults: “X is for Xenial….Xenial is being welcoming to strangers.” Compounding the difficulty here, the visual image of a Black kid dressed as a magician hugging a rabbit they’ve pulled out of a hat does not exactly illustrate xeniality (xenialness?). Other illustrations do a better job of helping readers understand the words being introduced. The illustrations feature racially diverse children and are usually paired in each double-page spread: “A is for Anxious. Anxious is feeling really worried about something. / B is for Brave. Brave is being nervous about something and doing it anyway.” On the A page, a brown-skinned kid cowers from the dragon that encircles their bed, as in a nightmare. Across the gutter on the B page, the ferociously scowling child confronts the now-intimidated monster. Kids will get an immediate sense of those two words. Animals, real and imaginary, often play a role in the pictures. The book will be best shared one on one or in very small groups, when children can really spend time examining the pictures and talking about their own impression of what is happening in each picture. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A mixed bag. (word list) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20519-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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From the Scratch and Learn series

There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece,...

A very simple guide to (some) human anatomy, with scratch-off patches.

On sturdy board pages two cartoon children—one brown, one a sunburned pink—pose for cutaway views of select anatomical features. In most images certain parts, such as lungs and bladder on the “Organs” spread and both gluteus maximi on “Muscles,” are hidden beneath a black layer that can be removed with the flat end (or more slowly with the pointed one) of a wooden stylus housed in an attached bubble pack. With notable lack of consistency, the names of select organs or areas, with such child-centric additions as “A cut,” or “Poop,” are gathered in bulleted lists and/or placed as labels for arbitrarily chosen items in the pictures. It’s hard to envision younger readers getting more than momentary satisfaction from this, as they industriously scrape away and are invited to learn terms such as “Alveoli” and “Latissimus dorsi” that are, at best, minimally defined or described. Older ones in search of at least marginally systematic versions of the skeletal, sensory, nervous, and other (but not reproductive) systems will be even less satisfied. Even those alive to the extracurricular possibilities of a volume that contains, as one of the two warnings on the rear cover notes, a “functional sharp point,” will be disappointed.

There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece, preschool setting. (Informational novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-323-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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