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D IS FOR DESERT

A DESERT ABC PRIMER

A solid introduction to deserts that will also help small children develop alphabet knowledge.

Take an abecedarian journey through the world’s arid regions.

The cover of this board book promises “A DESERT ABC PRIMER” and the contents deliver with straightforward entries such as “A IS FOR ARMADILLO” and “B IS FOR BEDROCK.” While no specific deserts are named, context clues lead readers around the world from the deserts of Australia (“K IS FOR KANGAROO”; “T IS FOR THORNY DEVIL”; “W IS FOR WALLABY”) to the American Southwest (“J IS FOR JOSHUA TREE”; “Y IS FOR YUCCA”) to the Middle East (“F IS FOR FENNEC FOX”; “N IS FOR NOMADS”). Some of the items will be unfamiliar to children, so the lack of a glossary is unfortunate. Readers may erroneously conclude that “XERIC” refers to the plant centered in the accompanying illustration; “X IS FOR XEROPHYTE” would have been more appropriate. Although many desert animals are more active at night when it is cooler, no night scenes are depicted; however, the “U IS FOR UNDERGROUND” spread shows several animals in burrows avoiding the heat. The illustrations are rendered in a simple vector art style and portray almost all of the friendly-looking animals (some of whom aren’t named in the text) facing the reader, as if seeking interaction. Alas, on some spreads, the white font gets all but lost in the pale desert sky. This book should succeed in awakening the reader’s inner explorer and may leave children primed for deeper plunges. (The book was reviewed digitally.)

A solid introduction to deserts that will also help small children develop alphabet knowledge. (Informational board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64170-558-5

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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THE TOUCH BOOK

From the My World series

A fun, utilitarian vocabulary builder that begs to be picked up and touched.

In the tradition of Pat the Bunny, this effort offers plenty of opportunity for tactile exploration.

Though it lacks the inventiveness, charm, and nontactile sensory provocations that make Pat the Bunny an enduring classic, this gives little hands plenty to grab, feel, touch, and experience. There are no “Paul and Judy” on hand to emulate, but the die-cut, fuzzy handprint in the middle of the thick, cardboard cover makes the book’s intent and methodology clear to its audience. So does the admonition, “Let’s Get Hands-on!” accompanying a photo of a little White child with fingers and palms covered in different colors of paint. The next page lists 10 different textures along with photographs of items that act as examples of each. Featured sensations are “fluffy, crinkly, smooth, bumpy, sticky, spongy, furry, rough, scratchy, [and] soft.” Each texture gets a two-page spread featuring several different items or creatures that feel that way and one large example with a die-cut hole and an embedded tactile element of the corresponding texture. The book features plenty of vocabulary, including three synonyms for each type of texture. There’s a descriptive sentence: “Fluffy things feel light and airy,” for example. Questions add an interactive element, inviting children to explore for themselves: “If you run your finger along something crinkly, what kind of noise does it make?”

A fun, utilitarian vocabulary builder that begs to be picked up and touched. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-656-5

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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BABIES AROUND THE WORLD

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 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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