This well-intentioned but overambitious book has too many ingredients to create a delectable whole.




America’s Test Kitchen presents 26 facts about food and cookery for aspiring chefs.

Designed as a multileveled text intended to grow with its reader and laid out one letter per page, the book first presents a statement in a large typeface: “K is for Kumquats.” A short explanation that “Kumquats are tiny citrus fruits” follows in smaller type, and this is succeeded by a long, expository paragraph in even tinier print. Combined, it makes an overwhelmingly print-heavy page. Writing for young foodies is a tasty concept, but the book’s ingredients don’t quite meld. There are pages among the esoteric mix of food and cooking techniques detailing familiar items such as “oven” or “vanilla,” but too many cover topics far too sophisticated for the audience. Few toddlers will grasp that “Umami” enhances taste or that lox “is cured but not smoked.” Older foodies may appreciate the material but not the board-book format, and all readers may find the clinical tone, like an unbrined turkey, to be a little dry. Digitally collaged illustrations gamely make the subject as much fun as possible, with lively faces plastered on food and utensils and vibrant colors to make the tasty morsels pop. Dashes of wit spice things up, such as a peppermint leaf soaking in a hot mug of water, spa candles and fuzzy slippers at the ready. A simultaneously publishing companion, 123 the Farm and Me, shares both approach and flaws.

This well-intentioned but overambitious book has too many ingredients to create a delectable whole. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7003-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Good intentions gone wrong.


From the Baby Loves… series

A baby and a dog discover gravity in this appealingly illustrated, developmentally inappropriate book.

This and Baby Loves Coding are the latest offerings in the Baby Loves Science series of board books. These cute but overzealous attempts to create STEM students from children fresh from the womb seem aimed more at pushy parents than at doctoral candidates in diapers. Previous volumes have featured toddlers who love quarks, aerospace engineering, thermodynamics, and quantum physics. The contents of this book have been vetted for scientific accuracy; one wonders whether the creative team also vetted the practical value of teaching preschoolers to parrot answers to questions they’re ill-equipped to pose or indeed comprehend: “Why does a noodle fall? / Because of gravity!” Babies will have observed the central action this book presents—the fall to the floor of some tidbit from their highchair trays—over and over, but does “When Baby drops something, the earth pulls it down” adequately describe the phenomenon? For a toddler audience, even simple explanations of the science in this book require more exposition than board books allow and raise more questions than they answer. “Everything is made of matter. The amount of matter is called mass.” OK, what is matter? And if gravity makes spaghetti fall to Earth, why does it make the moon go around it? The baby has brown skin and tightly curled black hair.

Good intentions gone wrong. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-836-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good.


Storytime gets a kick in the pants with this jaunty combo of shapes and vehicles.

In this look at basic geometry via high-resolution photographs of construction trucks, the youngest of readers are introduced to nine different shapes. Using a seek-and-find format, the book encourages them to locate each shape as it appears on a vehicle, clearly delineated with thick, colorful lines. A clear, red triangle decorates the bed of a dump truck; a blue oval surrounds the barrel of a concrete mixer. The rhyming text names the featured equipment, each shot with crystal clarity outdoors on a variety of beautiful days. From the jaunty little red forklift sporting a rectangle on its side to the rhombus of a road sign snapped at an angle, small fingers will have no difficulty tracing each of the featured shapes again and again. Similar in its cadences to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle (1967), this book is ideal for construction storytimes everywhere. “Road roller / Road roller / Coming through! / I spy a circle— / How about you?” Be sure to sing it to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” if you really want to bring down the house. Activities to further engage young children are included at the end of the book.

Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77278-134-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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