From the Block Books series

Captivating—and not a bit terrifying.

Catering to young scientists, naturalists, and Shark Week fans–to-be, this visually arresting volume presents a good deal of information in easily digested bites.

Like others in the Block Books series, this book feels both compact and massive. When closed, it is 5.5 inches across, 6.5 inches tall, and nearly 2 inches thick, weighty and solid, with stiff cardboard pages that boast creative die cuts and numerous fold-out three- and four-panel tableaux. While it’s possible it’s not the only book with a dorsal fin, it certainly must be among the best. The multiracial cast of aquarium visitors includes a Sikh man with his kids and a man of color who uses a wheelchair; there they discover the dramatic degree of variations among sharks. The book begins with a trip to a shark exhibit, complete with a megalodon jaw. The text points out that there are over 400 known types of sharks alive today, then introduces 18 examples, including huge whale sharks, tiny pocket sharks, and stealthy, well-camouflaged wobbegongs. Reef sharks prowl the warm waters of the surface, while sand tiger sharks explore shipwrecks on the ocean floor. Bioluminescent catsharks reside at the bottom of an inky black flap that folds down, signifying the deepest ocean depths, where no sunlight penetrates. Great whites get star treatment with four consecutive two-page spreads; their teeth and appetite impress but don’t horrify. The book does a wonderful job of highlighting the interconnectedness of species and the importance of environmental stewardship.

Captivating—and not a bit terrifying. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4119-7

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021


From the Baby University series

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

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: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020



A mix of fabs and flubs, but there are plenty of opportunities for interactive play nonetheless, at least as long as the...

Cardboard tools for budding carpenters.

Each of the five heavy-duty press-out tools can be put to immediate use—turning screws on the page opposite the screwdriver, for instance, or making a satisfying “whoopa-whoopa” by sliding the saw through five adjacent die-cut slots. It’s not going to be quite so easy, though, to measure “1 board” when the accompanying slotted tape measure has no numbers on it (and is also shorter than the board and very sticky and hard to work, to boot). Readers are encouraged to use the wrench to “tighten 2 nuts,” but those nuts are on smooth posts rather than threads, so they simply spin fruitlessly rather than tightening. The four flat “nails” that can be hammered into slots are small enough to make the toddler advisory on the rear cover a necessity, too. Still, the tools and other pieces are large enough for post-toddlers to wield easily, and they offer tantalizing previews of what handling real tools will be like. The book closes with an encouraging “Good job using your tools!”

A mix of fabs and flubs, but there are plenty of opportunities for interactive play nonetheless, at least as long as the parts stay with the book. (Novelty board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2929-4

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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