A solid, accessible reference book that is fun to peruse.

LET'S PLAY OUTDOORS!

EXPLORING NATURE FOR CHILDREN

A series of activities offers simple directions for specific ways that kids can interact with the outdoors.

A chaotic but appealing table of contents lists the many single-spread topics, which include ways to observe nature (“Window Camera”), ways to help preserve nature (“We Need Bees!”), and how to create carefully controlled entertainment in the great outdoors (“Campfires,” “Outdoor Cooking,” and “Obstacle Courses”). From constructing careful environments for “minibeast” observation to making bark rubbings, the directions are always clear and simple. Along the way, animals (and a couple of mushrooms) remind children via speech bubble of proper, mindful behavior and of when an adult must be present during an activity. A notebook icon sometimes appears with further suggestions for writing or drawing. Badgers, hedgehogs, and general vocabulary indicate this German import’s European genesis, as does a note about shutting gates behind you when roaming in the countryside. Otherwise, the art and text translate well to many North American settings. Facts surface, such as the differences between deciduous and evergreen and between centipede and millipede, but the book’s strength lies in the many ways offered to enjoy the outdoors while being mindful of other life forms. The color-block illustrations are full of people with varied skin tones and hair types. Aerial views of a multicultural woodland band and a campfire gathering are particularly appealing.

A solid, accessible reference book that is fun to peruse. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-3-89955-843-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Little Gestalten

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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