A well-ordered visual education

MY FIRST BOOK OF PATTERNS

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. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary.

MY FIRST BUSY BOOK

From the World of Eric Carle series

The latest addition to the World of Eric Carle is proof that the Wilder Award–winning picture-book creator knows what appeals to children.

This board book is both developmentally appropriate and aesthetically pleasing—perfect for toddlers. In a sturdy, oversize (10 1/2 inches square) format, Carle recycles iconic images from his vast canon to introduce shapes, colors, numbers, animals, and sounds. The flower on the cover is almost (but not quite) identical to the flower that grows from The Tiny Seed (1970). Seeing the animals throughout the pages is like recognizing old friends. But Carle and the book’s designer, Hannah Frece, put these familiar images to fresh uses to create a logical, accessible, and harmonious concept book. Although billed as a “busy book,” it is not hyperactive, using just five or six images per spread. From the mirror that lights up the sun on the cover to the touch-and-feel inserts on the page about animals to the single flap that hides a mouse from a cat, the tactile elements have been chosen with intention instead of just as gimmicks. On other pages, foils and textures are subtle, with many barely raised images that invite tracing.

A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5791-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end.

BYE-BYE BINKY

From the Big Kid Power series

This book seeks to use the power of persuasion to vanquish that most formidable of opponents: toddlers.

In this entry in the Big Kid Power series, a little black girl makes no bones about the fact that pacifiers (or “binkies”) are strictly baby territory. When she was little she needed one, but that was then. Whether she’s tired, sad, or hungry, there are other ways of being comforted: hugs and polite requests, for instance. After she gives her binky to a baby and bids it a very clear goodbye, the book ends with a triumphant, “I’M A BIG KID!” Using a striking color combination of orange, brown, and black, van Lieshout keeps her pages bold and bright, complementing the simple vocabulary. Such declarations as, “Do I still have a binky? // NO, BIG KIDS DON’T NEED A BINKY. / NOPE!” leave scant wiggle room for argument. In her author’s note at the end, van Lieshout says that after speaking to many parents about how they helped their kids bid their pacifiers adieu, “many of them had in common…a ritual of some sort.” The ritual here seems to be giving the pacifier away, though it may be missed by many readers. Companion title I Use the Potty uses a similar approach, with a proud, white boy as its guide.

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3536-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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