Positive and healthy behaviors and practices clumsily mixed together with, ironically, seeming unawareness of the book’s...

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ABC MINDFUL ME

From the ABC for Me series

Concepts such as “compassion,” “giving,” and “meditation” are introduced one letter at a time.

As with previous titles in Engel’s ABC for Me series, this book is printed on thick, sturdy pages that are filled with bright, cartoonish images of happy children with varied skin tones. A word connected (however tangentially) to the concept of mindfulness is introduced with brief, rhyming text on each page. The final pages present a definition of mindfulness and a few activities for practice. While the concepts are all positive notions that most people would agree are healthy for young children, problems with this book’s execution become immediately apparent with its cringeworthy appropriation of images from various cultures and spiritual traditions. Symbols such as dream catchers, Buddha statues, prayer flags, and culturally specific words such as “Namaste” and “Zen” are all used without providing any context on their origins or significance. The text also struggles, often forcing itself to fit the rhyme structure. “Pay attention to your energy. Is it high or very low? / Either way, just remember it will always flow.” Further, the book confuses mindfulness—the nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment—with other concepts and actions that, while well-intentioned, don’t necessarily have anything to do with mindfulness, such as “sleep” and “vegetables.”

Positive and healthy behaviors and practices clumsily mixed together with, ironically, seeming unawareness of the book’s overall effect. (Board book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-510-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed.

CLIMATE CHANGE FOR BABIES

From the Baby University series

This book presents a simplified explanation of the role the atmosphere plays in controlling climate.

The authors present a planet as a ball and its atmosphere as a blanket that envelops the ball. If the blanket is thick, the planet will be hot, as is the case for Venus. If the blanket is thin, the planet is cold, as with Mars. Planet Earth has a blanket that traps “just the right amount of heat.” The authors explain trees, animals, and oceans are part of what makes Earth’s atmosphere “just right.” “But…Uh-oh! People on Earth are changing the blanket!” The book goes on to explain how some human activities are sending “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, thus “making the blanket heavier and thicker” and “making Earth feel unwell.” In the case of a planet feeling unwell, what would the symptoms be? Sea-level rises that lead to erosion, flooding, and island loss, along with extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, blizzards, and wildfires. Ending on a constructive note, the authors name a few of the remedies to “help our Earth before it’s too late!” By using the blanket analogy, alongside simple and clear illustrations, this otherwise complex topic becomes very accessible to young children, though caregivers will need to help with the specialized vocabulary.

Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8082-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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