A BABY LIKE YOU

Interesting animal facts and beautiful photographs, but despite the title, best suited to preschoolers (who will love it).

Animal babies are compared with human babies through selected facts and full-page photos.

Sibert Medalist Thimmesh (Team Moon, 2006) explores the similarities and differences in how human and animal babies do things like eat, walk, learn, and play. On each two-page spread, the narrative portion is set in large, bold type while below it in a smaller font is a specific fact relating to the featured baby. Because the narrative portions run across several page turns, the informational pieces—which serve as asides—disrupt the flow. This issue is mitigated a bit by Thimmesh’s use of the same refrain to begin each new topic: “Each new day, in different ways, a baby like you” signals readers to resume the pace. The informational asides about animals are concise and high interest, and while the human facts will be familiar to adult readers, younger readers are likely to learn something new. The photography is gorgeous, with fuzzy, adorable animal babies and diverse, equally cute human ones. Though this book is addressed to a baby, they are not the appropriate audience. This one is best read to preschoolers who can appreciate the book’s length and details. The phrase “a baby like you” may be a misfit, but the past-tense descriptions of things babies do (like learning to walk) make sense for older readers.

Interesting animal facts and beautiful photographs, but despite the title, best suited to preschoolers (who will love it). (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55312-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

SHARKBLOCK

From the Block Books series

Captivating—and not a bit terrifying.

Catering to young scientists, naturalists, and Shark Week fans–to-be, this visually arresting volume presents a good deal of information in easily digested bites.

Like others in the Block Books series, this book feels both compact and massive. When closed, it is 5.5 inches across, 6.5 inches tall, and nearly 2 inches thick, weighty and solid, with stiff cardboard pages that boast creative die cuts and numerous fold-out three- and four-panel tableaux. While it’s possible it’s not the only book with a dorsal fin, it certainly must be among the best. The multiracial cast of aquarium visitors includes a Sikh man with his kids and a man of color who uses a wheelchair; there they discover the dramatic degree of variations among sharks. The book begins with a trip to a shark exhibit, complete with a megalodon jaw. The text points out that there are over 400 known types of sharks alive today, then introduces 18 examples, including huge whale sharks, tiny pocket sharks, and stealthy, well-camouflaged wobbegongs. Reef sharks prowl the warm waters of the surface, while sand tiger sharks explore shipwrecks on the ocean floor. Bioluminescent catsharks reside at the bottom of an inky black flap that folds down, signifying the deepest ocean depths, where no sunlight penetrates. Great whites get star treatment with four consecutive two-page spreads; their teeth and appetite impress but don’t horrify. The book does a wonderful job of highlighting the interconnectedness of species and the importance of environmental stewardship.

Captivating—and not a bit terrifying. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4119-7

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

SUMMER

A POP-UP BOOK

From the Seasons Pop-Up series

Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy.

Carter completes his round of seasonal tributes with pop-up sprays of luscious-looking small fruits, garden bounty, and bright flowers.

As before, the locale is a generalized western United States, and both early- and late-season flora and foliage are on display in the same scenes. Along with lots of labels for the neatly limned animals and vegetation in each broad, idyllic landscape—from a “cedar waxwing” nibbling on a “cherry” to the marbled-paper “chickens” pecking beneath a tree heavy with ripe apples—he adds leading questions (“Who eats the flowers?” “Who looks like a stick?”) to invite closer looks. Frisky “chipmunks” are named in the first tableau, then visible without an identifier in each of the following five for younger viewers to point out. Highlighted by a spiraling cucumber vine that turns the vegetable garden into a convincing tangle, the pop-ups are simple and (relatively) sturdy but rear gracefully to surprising heights considering the volume’s small trim size.

Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy. (Informational pop-up picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2832-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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