A quick, tuneful dip into oceanography

READ REVIEW

OCEAN MOTIONS

Walruses wave, jellies jiggle, and gulls glide in this board-book introduction to sea creatures.

All these creatures live in or near the sea, but a youngster would not normally see them together except when visiting an aquarium. The inclusion of “river otters” might be confusing. Despite their name, they sometimes head to the ocean to fish, but the book lacks backmatter to explain this to adult readers who may be faced with inquisitive children’s questions. Still, illustrator Endle’s playful cut-paper collages of each animal are surprisingly accurate, highlighting the essential features of each species. The uncluttered illustrations match the text clearly; even when two animals share a spread, which animal is which is clear from the layout. Older toddlers may want to count the creatures; the number shown varies depending on the page design. The alliterative text reads like a baby’s bounce rhyme. Author Babypants, aka Chris Ballew, is a former rocker–turned–children’s musician so it’s not surprising that his text begs to be sung. (A note in the back of the book informs readers that a recording will be available for free download on Babypants’ website.)

A quick, tuneful dip into oceanography . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63217-131-3

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

BUGS!

From the DR. Books series

There’s plenty of information and instruction crammed into this 5 ½-inch-square board book.

Hutton starts with the opening lines of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” leaving blanks to indicate where readers should fill in key words. Caregivers of toddlers who do not know the song will need to supply the words until their children are familiar enough with it to play the game. On the third page the tone shifts to conversational questioning, providing a model of dialogic reading. The adult reader speaks directly to the child: “Did you just see a bug? What kind of bug was it?…Was it BIG or small? Inside or outside?” The next six pages continue in that vein, providing information in response to the questions. Pages 11 and 12 refer to the rhyme again: “What’s that spider doing? Yes, it’s climbing! Climbing up a water spout! Climbing up a water spout at Grandpa’s house!” This method of repetition and expansion on an idea is excellent practice for beginning readers, but again, toddlers may need time to adjust. The final spread returns to a question likely to engage toddlers, with no practice necessary: “What’s your favorite kind of bug?” Colorful illustrations in shades of blue, green, and brown are only semirealistic; they emphasize a friendly look instead of a creepy one, potentially disappointing for young entomologists fascinated by the real thing.

For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-936669-80-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A gentle underwater excursion.

OCEAN LIFE

From the Hello World! series

An ocean-themed entry in the Hello World series.

A white youngster with long hair sporting a swim mask encourages little ones to “Dive in and take a look!” at ocean life. Each double-page spread presents a different marine animal, including whales, dolphins, sharks, an octopus, a crab and a lobster, sea turtles, fish, and jellyfish. Two or three conversationally conveyed facts of interest are included per double-page spread, one of which is usually in a smaller type and marked with an asterisk for obscure reasons. “What’s that? It’s a sea horse? It can quickly change colors to blend with the background, helping it hide from enemies,” reads the larger text in one representative spread, while the text in the smaller font reads, “A sea horse father carries eggs in a pouch until they are ready to hatch.” A trio of children, all of whom have light complexions, build a sand castle on the beach and collect shells to highlight the wide variety of the latter that can be found. McDonald’s jewel-toned art has the look of watercolor and is appropriately watery and accessible. The final pages allow children to reflect on their favorite ocean animal as the art reviews all the creatures depicted.

A gentle underwater excursion. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-57877-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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