AN ABC OF EQUALITY

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

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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

ABC POP-UP

Easy on the eyes, but more a showcase for collectors than a teaching tool.

A small alphabet of pop-up shapes, tidily packaged in a slipcase.

Alternating white forms on monochrome backgrounds with monochrome on white, the pop-ups—from a 3-D Apple to raised Yellow sweater with (nonworking) Zipper—accurately depict common items or scenes. For the most part, anyway—there are occasional inventive flights, as in an emphatically negatory concatenation of variously sized “NO”s representing those two letters. A few models feature moving parts, but in general McCarthy goes less for dazzling paper-engineering effects than for clean lines and neat compositions. Aside from an embossed, uncolored, single initial placed in an inconspicuous (sometimes nearly invisible) spot on each example, there are no identifiers or captions. This leads to opportunities for conversation. While the white Elephant is quite obvious, on the following page, three purple Flowers pop up over some blades of Grass—or maybe it’s a Garden? The large picture of a slice of orange on the carton of Juice will confuse more than one young reader. But most of the forms are probably too fragile for alphabet-learners anyway.

Easy on the eyes, but more a showcase for collectors than a teaching tool. (Pop-up alphabet. 4-6, adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9007-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

BIRD BUILDS A NEST

A FIRST SCIENCE STORYBOOK

A worthy, if somewhat forced, venture into multidisciplinary teaching for very young children that may require caregivers to...

A generic mother bird learns to conquer the forces of physics while going about her daily chores.

In an unusual take on the well-worn topic of birds and their nests, the common activities associated with feeding and nest-building are used to teach the science of force and gravity, albeit at a very elementary level. The preface encourages caregivers to discuss the law of motion, stating that “More force is needed to change the motion of heavier objects than to change the motion of lighter objects.” (Caregivers may find themselves searching for other words to make this clear to youngsters.) Furthermore, “Earth’s gravity pulls objects towards the Earth, which makes things fall down when they are dropped.” Aspects of these principles are illustrated with somewhat dated-looking mixed-media pictures in a muddy color palette as the bird pulls worms out of the ground; struggles to find twigs light enough to carry; creates a nest with twigs, feathers, and grass; and finally lays five speckled eggs, out of which hatch baby birds. Five questions again address the physics illustrated in the story, asking about pushing, pulling, moving, and dropping.

A worthy, if somewhat forced, venture into multidisciplinary teaching for very young children that may require caregivers to do some heavy lifting of their own. (index) (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9346-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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