The importance of the STEM fields in our world cannot be overstated. But the importance of understanding early childhood...



From the Baby University series

Another board book attempts to communicate complex scientific ideas to very young children.

This book and its companions, all aimed at very young children, presume the intended audience is familiar with conventional symbols to convey information, as all the explanations are made visually by means of arrows that indicate airflow. It stretches the imagination to believe toddlers will follow explanations delivered that way. Even more baffling is the assumption that toddlers have in their vocabulary arsenal words such as “flow,” “angle,” “deflect,” “lift,” and “thrust.” Further complicating the attempt is the oversimplification necessary to communicate to youngsters. Boiling concepts down to such statements as “This ship is full of fuel. / If the fuel goes out, // the ship goes forward” perhaps ought to have indicated the futility of this particular effort. In companion General Relativity, there is a page with horizontal and vertical lines forming a grid. Many toddlers might identify this as a piece of mosquito netting, but they would be wrong, as it is in fact “flat space.” Later they will also find out that “Mass drags space.” And “Space drags mass.” The explanations in Newtonian Physics and Quantum Physics are no better. Adults wishing to introduce children to the laws of physics will be more effective—and have more fun—playing with blocks, making waves in the bathtub, and launching paper planes into the air.

The importance of the STEM fields in our world cannot be overstated. But the importance of understanding early childhood development when writing for preschoolers cannot be overstated either. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5625-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Genial starter nonfiction.


From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design.


From the Mrs. Peanuckle's Alphabet Library series , Vol. 4

From Ant to Zorapteran, each page presents a variety of insects, both commonplace and obscure.

Narrator Mrs. Peanuckle, who enjoys sharing her likes and dislikes and writing about herself in the third person, has penned one to two sentences of quirky description and interesting facts for each insect representing a different letter of the alphabet: “L is for Ladybug / The loveliest of insects. They help Mrs. Peanuckle by eating the bugs on her roses!” The text often takes up most of the page and employs a different typeface per word, thus making the pages difficult to scan—often the featured letter of the alphabet merges with the name of the insect (“Inchworm” looks as though it has two I’s, for example). Ford’s lively insects skitter around the words in luminescent color; as with any effective insect book, there’s just enough detail to provoke interest without an ick-response. The companion book, Mrs. Peanuckle’s Flower Alphabet, presents blooms from Aster to Zinnia, with the same formula but with a more winsome approach to the art; here many of the flowers sport smiling faces in the same bold color palette.

Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62336-939-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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