Whimsical illustrations invite children to learn their first Spanish words.

The book is set out in a simple and clear fashion, each section clearly identified. An introduction tells children “Spanish is the second-most-spoken language in the world” and explains there are regional differences in vocabulary. The “Spanish Basics” section explains the concept of a gendered language and how gender and number must match. There is a cryptic note about “la mano” (the hand) being an exception, with no further explanation. Then comes the real focus of the book, everyday words in a variety of areas: animals, body, food, colors, numbers, school, home, garden, clothing, occupations, family, places, transportation, and weather. Each topic is allotted a double-page spread. The illustrations are whimsical and spare. English is presented in a color matching the general color of the page, followed by the Spanish in black. On occasion, more than one word is given for the Spanish to allow for regional differences. With no pronunciation guide to help children out, it is to be assumed they will need someone who speaks the language to guide them. A better use for the book might be as a picture-dictionary reference tool. The children depicted in the illustrations are paper-white, purple, blue, and green, with no hint of racial or ethnic differences.

Serviceable. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6626-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will...


Bearing the tagline “A lift-the-flap book of discovery,” this board book for older children is meant to inspire garden explorations.

Its inviting house-shaped design with multiple peep-hole windows hints at what children will find inside. The first page explains that “A bug hotel is a multistory homemade habitat where creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes can find a place to stay!” The benefits of providing accommodations for six different garden critters are then detailed, one per double-page spread. Information about each creature’s ideal environment and how humans can foster that habitat is behind the largest flap on each spread, which also includes a cutout through which the insect can be seen. “Snails come out mainly at night, so a dark and protected habitat helps to keep them cool, happy and safe from predators….” Smaller flaps discuss characteristics of each critter—pollination for bees, metamorphosis for butterflies, etc. The final spread reviews the various materials needed to attract different bugs to the garden. However, there are no instructions included or even websites to consult to assist readers in actually constructing a bug hotel. Birdhouse, published simultaneously using the same format, is somewhat more successful, possibly because birdhouses are more common.

Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will still need help from a caregiver or teacher . (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-766-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush.


A scan of landmarks, neighborhoods, food, and other attractions in the Big Apple.

Perfunctory efforts to give this tour at least a pretense of geographic or thematic unity only add to its higgledy-piggledy character. Arrhenius (City, 2018, etc.) opens with a full-page view of the Brooklyn Bridge soaring over an otherwise-unidentifiable cityscape opposite a jumble of eight smaller images that are, for all that one is labeled “Brooklyn Academy of Music” and another “Coney Island,” are likewise so stylized as to look generic. From there, in the same one-topic-per-spread format, it’s on to Manhattan uptown and down for “Rockefeller Center,” “Shopping,” and other random bites. The “Harlem” spread features a fire hydrant, a mailbox, and the (actually distant) Cloisters museum, for instance, and a glance into “Queens” offers glimpses of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a “Greek restaurant,” a “Mexican restaurant,” and “marathon runners.” The large trim size and aesthetic mimic M. Sasek’s perennial This Is New York (1960, revised edition 2003) while adding much-needed updates with both more diverse arrays of dress and skin hues for the stylized human figures as well as the addition of sites such as the Stonewall Inn, the 9/11 memorial, and the Fearless Girl statue.

Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0990-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet