For its age-appropriate facts, but most especially for its sweet and inviting illustrations, this is a nice addition to a...

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ANIMAL BABIES

Vibrant illustrations accompany various facts about baby animals in this toddler-friendly board book.

From the start, readers won’t be able to help but smile at Fuge’s charming illustrations of baby animals; there’s a tiny duck grasping at the finger of a baby chimpanzee! The rhyming quatrains keep the pace moving as they convey very basic facts about baby animals, perfect for a toddler audience. It’s true that meerkats are immune to the venom of some snakes, and so Fuge writes, “Meerkat babies aren’t afraid of snakes, as you can see,” to accompany an illustration of gleeful, teasing meerkats and a frazzled snake, a wonderful way to explain a complicated fact. Fuge’s watercolor images walk the line between realistic and cartoon, giving the animals clear personality while still appearing true-to-life. For the most part, the rhymes read well and aren’t forced, though many eyes will be rolling at the line “Daddy sea horse has the babies, without any fuss.” Though it doesn’t make any sense in terms of adherence to reality, the final double-page spread of the baby animals asleep in a pile is simply adorable.

For its age-appropriate facts, but most especially for its sweet and inviting illustrations, this is a nice addition to a toddler’s bookshelf. (Board book. 18 mos-3)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-548-0

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: May 14, 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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