Next book


A well-ordered visual education

Graphic design for the toddler set.

While naming patterns might not be high on the list of topical interests for most toddlers, this handsomely designed board book has the potential to provide little ones with expressive vocabulary that will enhance their visual literacy. The book itself follows a pattern with a series of three spreads each that introduce both common and lesser-seen patterns one might encounter in fabric design, illustration, and so on. “This is a line” reads the first verso, with an accompanying image of a white, vertical line on a bright pink background. The facing recto reads “A lot of lines make…” prompting a page turn to a spread covered with pink and white stripes and the word “STRIPES!” in bold, black type. The next spread is a wordless underwater scene depicting sea creatures and flora decorated with striped patterns. The rest of the book follows suit, explaining how “A lot of zigzags make… / CHEVRON!” and “A lot of diamonds make… / HARLEQUIN!” and so on. The paisley spread seems a bit off given that it takes more than “A lot of teardrops” to make this pattern, but otherwise the examples work well. A closing double-gatefold spread revisits each shape and the various patterns they create as a means of recapping the book as a whole.

A well-ordered visual education . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7249-0

Page Count: 66

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

Next book


Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Next book


Who knew that turning the pages could be the best part of a book?

Counting down one by one, 10 birds fall off a branch.

The concept of this picture book is simple enough: 10 birds topple, slip, and dive their way off the titular twig until there is one left. The text itself echoes familiar singsong-y children’s rhymes like “Five Little Pumpkins.” While it mostly succeeds, there are some awkward spots: “5 on a twig, there used to be more… / SNAP! Don’t say a word, now there are four.” (On each page the number is both spelled out and represented as a numeral). The real scene stealer, however, is the book’s interplay between Cole’s illustrations and the physical pages themselves. In much the same way Eric Carle utilizes the pages in The Very Hungry Caterpillar to show the little critter eating its way through the week, Cole uses pages of increasing width to show how the twig grows shorter as each bird falls and marches off purposefully with the others, all headed toward verso with pieces of twig in their beaks. Stylistically, the book is captivating. The very colorful, egg-shaped birds appear on a single, thin black line on a stark white background. This backdrop stands in powerful contrast to the book’s final two pages, which are set against black negative space, a theme echoed in the book’s feather-print endpapers. The heavy, thick pages make it easy for little hands to participate. The text takes a back seat to the playful and compelling design, which is sure to delight readers.

Who knew that turning the pages could be the best part of a book? (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72821-593-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Close Quickview