One might reasonably wonder whether the best time to teach baby sign language is before babies become interested in books,...

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ABC BABY SIGNS

LEARN BABY SIGN LANGUAGE WHILE YOU PRACTICE YOUR ABCS!

From the ABC for Me series

A baby sign language primer for caregivers and infants alike.

The third entry in author/illustrator Engel’s ABC for Me series uses the alphabet as a vehicle to teach 26 different words in baby sign language and adds an additional four pages of words and signs for good measure. Featured words are practical and useful: “eat,” “more,” and “please,” for example. “Vegetable” is as esoteric as it gets, and while that is clearly a useful word, expecting children to sign wildly for more vegetables may be wishful thinking in many cases. Rhymed verse describes each word and the simple gestures that express it. The text is more utilitarian than poetic, with odd meter and a few awkward rhymes, but the simple images are lively and engaging, and the poetic liberties are, for the most part, easily forgiven. The illustrations throughout feature a cast of ethnically diverse children and parents signing and acting out each concept, while baby sign language “interpreters” in insets at the top of each page demonstrate each sign in a simple diagram. The child who demonstrates the sign for “me” is of indefinite ethnicity and sports gender-neutral clothing and hairstyle.

One might reasonably wonder whether the best time to teach baby sign language is before babies become interested in books, but any book that fosters a child’s development of communication skills seems a worthwhile undertaking. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63322-366-0

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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A happily multisensory exploration.

NOISY FARM

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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