Will be welcomed by caregivers looking for heroines to inspire young children.

READ REVIEW

I LOOK UP TO…MICHELLE OBAMA

From the I Look Up to . . . series

An earnest board-book introduction to a strong female role model for young feminists.

Actually, this book is more for caregivers eager to raise a feminist than it is for children. Membrino addresses her readers familiarly, equally casually referring to her subject as simply “Michelle” following the first-page introduction. She focuses on the former first lady’s key messages: working hard, being healthy, having fun, getting an education. In the patterned presentation, a sentence from Membrino about how Obama lives her values is followed by a quote. Burke’s vivid, playful illustrations use bold colors against patterned backgrounds. Obama is almost always dressed in bright pink. The illustrations get her stance and posture right; her eyes are exaggerated, looking directly at the reader. Her famous arms are proudly flexed on the page about “BEING HEALTHY.” The type uses contrasting colors and all-caps for emphasis. A companion book, I Look Up to…Ruth Bader Ginsburg, follows the same format. Again, Burke nails Ginsburg’s posture; her eyes look exactly like Obama’s, but she gazes from square-framed glasses. Ginsburg also wears her iconic decorative collar in every illustration, even when she is shown exercising.

Will be welcomed by caregivers looking for heroines to inspire young children. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-57954-0

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A mismatch in every way.

THIS LITTLE SCIENTIST

A DISCOVERY PRIMER

From the This Little series

An introduction to 10 scientists for the youngest readers.

Each historical or modern figure is featured on their own double-page spread, which includes a close-up portrait and rhyming couplets on the verso, and the facing page features the scientist in action and a caption of a sentence or two offering more information about their work but often written at a level far beyond the board-book audience’s developmental capacity. The usual suspects are here, including Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, but women and scientists of color can also be found, such as naturalist and painter Maria Sibylla Merian and particle physicist Sau Lan Wu. The verse is strained, forced, and often doesn’t scan (for Katherine Johnson: “This little scientist got the math right / to help NASA astronauts launch outer space flight”). In an evident attempt to be cute, the phrase “This little scientist…” introduces the figures and has the effect of demeaning the women, people of color, and people with disabilities depicted. The art, like others in the This Little series, features bobbleheaded caricatures of each figure in bold colors. The final two pages present 17 additional scientists in portraiture from throughout history and around the world and a brief caption, with a blank space left open for “You!”

A mismatch in every way. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0108-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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This Little is both too little and too early to do justice to these important lives.

THIS LITTLE DREAMER

AN INSPIRATIONAL PRIMER

From the This Little series

A board-book introduction to 10 workers for social justice.

The first double-page spread shows the five men and five women to be featured. Subsequent spreads include a close-up portrait and four-line verse opposite an illustration meant to demonstrate each inspirational figure’s work. A two- or three-line caption reduces the complex work of people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to vague platitudes. “Mahatma Gandhi led the people of India to freedom from being ruled by Great Britain” is woefully inadequate. Even so, the concept is still far beyond the board-book audience’s understanding. How to communicate to toddlers the work of Henry Bergh, ASPCA founder, or Dr. Jim Yong Kim, 12th chair of the World Bank? (Answer: He “works to help poor countries succeed.”) Dolores Huerta was chosen to represent the United Farm Workers, but including Cesar Chavez in her caption diminishes her role. Brief bios and portraits of 17 additional activists and a blank space labeled “You!” under the headline “Kindness, sharing, speaking out, fair play— / what could you do to help others someday?” complete the book. The bobblehead art, similar to other books in the This Little series, sometimes borders on offensive caricature.

This Little is both too little and too early to do justice to these important lives. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4291-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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