BABY ANIMALS

From the Follow the Trail series

A bunny, a kitten, a puppy, and a chick travel along lightly textured, color-coded “finger trails” displayed against white backgrounds in this busy addition to the Follow the Trail series.

An introductory spread instructs, “Use your finger to follow the trails,” while text points out when the path proceeds straight, loops, or zigzags. Shapes the reader will encounter on later pages are introduced, as well as the die-cut circle that foreshadows the animal that will be featured on the next page, a semiregular feature. The final spread serves as review, with the ribbons of color entwined. The four spreads in between—one for each animal—are dotted with animal facts and words of encouragement along the path that each animal follows to reach its toy or food. Some words in bold give directions; others are nouns, adjectives, and the animal’s sounds. Each animal is represented by a mix of photos and small graphics along its colored path. Farm, published simultaneously, uses the same formula to introduce a tractor, a hen and chicks, a cow and sheep, and piglets. With minimal information, these board books are unlikely to engage beginning readers, while the surfeit of required skills, confusing layout, and complex vocabulary are not appropriate for kids who need sturdy board books.

Overall, disappointing. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4654-6562-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind.

BABIES AROUND THE WORLD

Ten babies in 10 countries greet friends in almost 10 languages.

Countries of origin are subtly identified. For example, on the first spread, NYC is emblazoned on a blond, white baby’s hat as well as a brown baby’s scoot-car taxi. On the next spread, “Mexico City” is written on a light brown toddler’s bike. A flag in each illustration provides another hint. However, the languages are not named, so on first reading, the fine but important differences between Spanish and Portuguese are easily missed. This is also a problem on pages showing transliterated Arabic from Cairo and Afrikaans from Cape Town. Similarly, Chinese and Japanese are transliterated, without use of traditional hànzì or kanji characters. British English is treated as a separate language, though it is, after all, still English. French (spoken by 67 million people) is included, but German, Russian, and Hindi (spoken by 101 million, 145 million, and 370 million respectively) are not. English translations are included in a slightly smaller font. This world survey comes full circle, ending in San Francisco with a beige baby sleeping in an equally beige parent’s arms. The message of diversity is reinforced by images of three babies—one light brown, one medium brown, one white—in windows on the final spread.

A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-938093-87-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Duo Press

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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