Novelty pull-tabs combined with fascinating animal-tongue facts.

Face it: Tongues are weirdly enthralling to toddlers and preschoolers, who are going to be even more intrigued after experiencing this lively board book. Inside, readers get up and close and personal with five different animal faces. Pull the tab from their mouths, and a tongue emerges, from an insect-covered anteater’s to an unexpectedly blue, leaf-coated giraffe tongue. Once the tongue’s out, let go—and snap!—it recedes with a satisfying noise, as though the animal is hungrily devouring its meal. Because the elastic that enables this special effect seems both well attached and robust, the snapping feature should attract and withstand plenty of action. The accompanying tongue facts are genuinely cool. Who knew that a blue whale’s tongue “weighs as much as an elephant” or that the chameleon’s “tongue is hollow”? Sitting against mostly white backgrounds, the page-dominating animal collages feel as energetic as their springing tongues. Brilliantly colored papers are cut, ripped, layered, and painted, making the critters feel three-dimensional. The few strategic background elements, such as a diminutive scuba diver alongside the blue whale or the paper wasp’s nest (incorrectly identified as a beehive) behind a sun bear present the animal’s scale. If the book has a downside, it’s that there’s not enough of it.

Snap this one up. (Novelty board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7941-4

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design.


From the Mrs. Peanuckle's Alphabet Library series , Vol. 4

From Ant to Zorapteran, each page presents a variety of insects, both commonplace and obscure.

Narrator Mrs. Peanuckle, who enjoys sharing her likes and dislikes and writing about herself in the third person, has penned one to two sentences of quirky description and interesting facts for each insect representing a different letter of the alphabet: “L is for Ladybug / The loveliest of insects. They help Mrs. Peanuckle by eating the bugs on her roses!” The text often takes up most of the page and employs a different typeface per word, thus making the pages difficult to scan—often the featured letter of the alphabet merges with the name of the insect (“Inchworm” looks as though it has two I’s, for example). Ford’s lively insects skitter around the words in luminescent color; as with any effective insect book, there’s just enough detail to provoke interest without an ick-response. The companion book, Mrs. Peanuckle’s Flower Alphabet, presents blooms from Aster to Zinnia, with the same formula but with a more winsome approach to the art; here many of the flowers sport smiling faces in the same bold color palette.

Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62336-939-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.


From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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