There is much to talk about with baby in this sturdy, wordless, black-and-white board book.
Since the 1960s, researchers have demonstrated that newborns prefer high-contrast black-and-white images over bright colors or pastels. Unfortunately, many adults are quickly bored by this formula. Stewart solves this problem by starting with clear mirror images of a teddy bear—first black then white. In later pages he repeats images so adult “readers” can count with their babies. Toy rockets are made up of many small rockets, and the rocking horse incorporates all the toys included somewhere in the book. Whether infants will notice these niceties is debatable, but the details will help adults stay engaged, which is the goal. Companion title Cars and Trucks is even busier. Even the first page, which presents a single, white car, is bordered by two rows of black vehicles in different shapes. Subsequent pages provide multiple vehicles, including a car-transport truck, and lines of vehicles to point out and count. As promised on the cover, each book concludes with a foil image, but they are disappointing, looking more tarnished than glittery—a minor quibble.
This and the other titles in the Black & White series may well become favorites for tots to chew on until they graduate to Donald Crews' graphically striking classics, such as Truck and Freight Train. (Board book. 3-18 mos.)