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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A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind.


Ten babies in 10 countries greet friends in almost 10 languages.

Countries of origin are subtly identified. For example, on the first spread, NYC is emblazoned on a blond, white baby’s hat as well as a brown baby’s scoot-car taxi. On the next spread, “Mexico City” is written on a light brown toddler’s bike. A flag in each illustration provides another hint. However, the languages are not named, so on first reading, the fine but important differences between Spanish and Portuguese are easily missed. This is also a problem on pages showing transliterated Arabic from Cairo and Afrikaans from Cape Town. Similarly, Chinese and Japanese are transliterated, without use of traditional hànzì or kanji characters. British English is treated as a separate language, though it is, after all, still English. French (spoken by 67 million people) is included, but German, Russian, and Hindi (spoken by 101 million, 145 million, and 370 million respectively) are not. English translations are included in a slightly smaller font. This world survey comes full circle, ending in San Francisco with a beige baby sleeping in an equally beige parent’s arms. The message of diversity is reinforced by images of three babies—one light brown, one medium brown, one white—in windows on the final spread.

A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-938093-87-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Duo Press

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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