“Exploring the Americas” is a misnomer, but the artwork is delightful.

ANIMALS FROM A TO Z

EXPLORING THE AMERICAS

This board book features a total of 26 animals from North, Central, and South America, one for each letter of the alphabet.

Each animal is simply presented: “A is for Alligator”; “H is for Hummingbird”; “K is for Kangaroo Rat”; and “Z is for Zebra Longwing Butterfly.” Given the limited text on each spread, it is the stylized illustrations that carry the book. The colors are vibrant in artwork that has a flat, posterlike sensibility. Unfortunately, the book doesn’t quite deliver. Perhaps the shortcoming lies in the North America–heavy choice of animals; there is not enough exploration, as the subtitle suggests, of animals in the Americas as a whole. A guide at the back of the book indicates if each animal makes its home in North, Central, or South America, and 20 out of 26 are either only in North America or also from North America. The lone Central American animal represents the letter Q: “Q is for Quetzal.” (This feels inevitable, because not many other animal names begin with Q.) Only two animals are just from South America: the uakari monkey and the x-ray fish, the latter (like the quetzal) perhaps also a perfunctory choice. It is a lost opportunity to introduce children in the United States to more animals from Central and South America.

“Exploring the Americas” is a misnomer, but the artwork is delightful. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-694-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design.

MRS. PEANUCKLE'S BUG ALPHABET

From the Mrs. Peanuckle's Alphabet Library series , Vol. 4

From Ant to Zorapteran, each page presents a variety of insects, both commonplace and obscure.

Narrator Mrs. Peanuckle, who enjoys sharing her likes and dislikes and writing about herself in the third person, has penned one to two sentences of quirky description and interesting facts for each insect representing a different letter of the alphabet: “L is for Ladybug / The loveliest of insects. They help Mrs. Peanuckle by eating the bugs on her roses!” The text often takes up most of the page and employs a different typeface per word, thus making the pages difficult to scan—often the featured letter of the alphabet merges with the name of the insect (“Inchworm” looks as though it has two I’s, for example). Ford’s lively insects skitter around the words in luminescent color; as with any effective insect book, there’s just enough detail to provoke interest without an ick-response. The companion book, Mrs. Peanuckle’s Flower Alphabet, presents blooms from Aster to Zinnia, with the same formula but with a more winsome approach to the art; here many of the flowers sport smiling faces in the same bold color palette.

Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62336-939-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this.

ABCS OF ART

From “Apple” to “Zebra,” an alphabet of images drawn from museum paintings.

In an exhibition that recalls similar, if less parochial, ABCs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (My First ABC, 2009) and several other institutions, Hahn presents a Eurocentric selection of paintings or details to illustrate for each letter a common item or animal—all printed with reasonable clarity and captioned with identifying names, titles, and dates. She then proceeds to saddle each with an inane question (“What sounds do you think this cat is making?” “Where can you find ice?”) and a clumsily written couplet that unnecessarily repeats the artist’s name: “Flowers are plants that blossom and bloom. / Frédéric Bazille painted them filling up this room!” She also sometimes contradicts the visuals, claiming that the horses in a Franz Marc painting entitled “Two Horses, 1912” are ponies, apparently to populate the P page. Moreover, her “X” is an actual X-ray of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard, showing that the artist repainted his subject’s face…interesting but not quite in keeping with the familiar subjects chosen for the other letters.

Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4938-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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