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)
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)