Playful and inviting armchair travel for conscientious youngsters.

READ REVIEW

HELLO NEW YORK!

From the Hello, Big City! series

With shaped pages and a fold-out map, this is a guide to the landmarks of the Big Apple.

Many NYC tourist sights are illustrated, including the expected (the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square) and the too-rarely depicted (Chinatown and Harlem’s Apollo Theater), often in paired double-page spreads, with the die-cut page on the recto becoming a different vantage point (or inside) of the tourist attraction on the verso. Cleverly, the rectangular windows of the facade of the main building of the New York Public Library become the spines of shelved books when the page is turned and readers enter. Cosneau’s flat, graphic images in muted, cool colors adeptly capture the busy energy of the city, presenting a diverse cast of people with stylized skin tones of warm gray, chalk white, mustard yellow, and salmon pink. Franceschelli peppers the art with a few brief lines that set the scene: “GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL / People rushing. People running. // Where’s my train? Time to GO!” The first spread is a fold-out map that provides a key to the 10 featured landmarks, though it is not scaled for navigation. It is incorrectly labeled as a map of New York City (Staten Island and the Bronx are nowhere in sight, and Brooklyn and Queens are gray spaces on the margins). The companion title, Hello Paris!, takes young readers across the pond with a similar format and illuminates landmarks in the City of Lights, such as the Louvre, Montmartre, and Notre-Dame. With thinner-than-normal board pages sporting die-cuts, fold-out maps, and spines that could easily give way, both titles are best suited to readers already accustomed to books.

Playful and inviting armchair travel for conscientious youngsters. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2829-7

Page Count: 46

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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More information than toddlers will sit still for; not enough for preschoolers who are outgrowing board books.

MY BODY

From the Hello World! series

An introduction to the body for the youngest readers.

It’s an endlessly fascinating topic, but here it is explained in wordy and needlessly exclamatory detail. On the opening spread three children play: One flies a kite, another plays hopscotch, and a third hangs upside down from a branch while the text explains that “your body can do so many things!” Basic facts about each body part are explained on subsequent spreads—more or less. A spread devoted to the belly button gives no hint to its original purpose. A busy park scene with all the characters and summary text that emphasizes the importance of “Lots of sleep, good food, and plenty of exercise” ends this compendium. McDonald’s attempts to be inclusive don’t quite succeed. A brown-skinned boy playing wheelchair basketball is used to explain arm joints, and there are several other children of color in the book. But on the page about hearing, the brown-skinned tot’s prominent ears and his placement in a tree make him look more like a monkey than a child—an unfortunate association. Many spreads include a question that relates to the topic but could also prove distracting. An additional fact on each spread set in a smaller font is clearly for older children or grown-ups, not toddlers.

More information than toddlers will sit still for; not enough for preschoolers who are outgrowing board books. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6636-8

Page Count: 27

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Sweet idea, but these cupcakes are missing some key ingredients.

STIR CRACK WHISK BAKE

A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT LITTLE CAKES

America’s Test Kitchen invites young children to bake pretend cupcakes.

Smiling bowls, cups, and spoons guide would-be cooks through the basic steps of baking. The instructions start out clearly: “First, we gather the ingredients.” Then pretend takes over. Unfortunately, the applike instruction to “Use your finger to drag each one to the counter” makes no sense, as the ingredients don’t actually move, and unlike Hervé Tullet’s books, the page turn does not work the appropriate magic. Nor can the spilled flour on the next page be brushed off. Similarly, swiping a finger around the edge of a bowl will not mix batter, tapping pictures of eggs will not crack them, and bowls of dry and wet ingredients cannot be combined just by shaking them. Finally, after many pretend steps, the child can count down with the timer until the cupcakes are done. On the next spread they are asked to blow on the cakes to cool them enough to frost. Then a bowl of frosting magically arrives, and the child is invited to “dip your fingers in the frosting” to frost each cake. Yes, this is imaginary play. But simple, age-appropriate instructions—measure, mix, pour, bake, frost, sprinkle, enjoy—accompanied by clear illustrations would more effectively entice toddlers into the kitchen than this. Counterintuitively, there is no simple recipe with tips on baking with tots for caregivers.

Sweet idea, but these cupcakes are missing some key ingredients. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7773-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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