For settings that really, really need another first-words book.

BABY'S FIRST WORDS

A brief introduction to items in a baby’s world, with simple, tactile effects.

Appealing to a baby’s sense of touch, this basic board book showcases 10 words that would largely be familiar in a little one’s world. Each two-page spread displays connected words and concepts. The opening layout of embossed pairs of “socks” and “shoes,” for example, describes them as “striped” and “spotted,” respectively. The images are bold and large, taking up nearly the entire page without busy or distracting backgrounds, making for easy viewing and touching. The textures are a nice addition to the illustrations, especially for little hands primed to touch and explore. The “leaf” has raised water droplets on its “green” surface that are particularly effective. The page featuring a smiling “spoon” says, oddly, “Let’s make a smiley face!” whereas all of the other images are accompanied by more logical glosses or engaging questions. The final two pages show all of the images together, providing caregivers an opportunity to make connections or to simply review words with their children. Companion title Baby’s First Baby Animals follows a similar structure, introducing 10 baby animals with tactile images and a recap layout at the end. By contrast, however, these two-page spreads don’t feature the same cohesion of description or inviting questions. Overall, Words stands out over Baby Animals for its integrity of layout, though neither does anything earth-shatteringly different from myriad board books about firsts for baby.

For settings that really, really need another first-words book. (Board book. 6-18 mos.)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4654-6365-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A substantive and affirming addition to any collection.

THE ABCS OF BLACK HISTORY

An impressive array of names, events, and concepts from Black history are introduced in this alphabet book for early-elementary readers.

From A for anthem (“a banner of song / that wraps us in hope, lets us know we belong”) to Z for zenith (“the top of that mountain King said we would reach”), this picture book is a journey through episodes, ideas, and personalities that represent a wide range of Black experiences. Some spreads celebrate readers themselves, like B for beautiful (“I’m talking to you!”); others celebrate accomplishments, such as E for explore (Matthew Henson, Mae Jemison), or experiences, like G for the Great Migration. The rhyming verses are light on the tongue, making the reading smooth and soothing. The brightly colored, folk art–style illustrations offer vibrant scenes of historical and contemporary Black life, with common people and famous people represented in turn. Whether reading straight through and poring over each page or flipping about to look at the refreshing scenes full of brown and black faces, readers will feel pride and admiration for the resilience and achievements of Black people and a call to participate in the “unfinished…American tale.” Endnotes clarify terms and figures, and a resource list includes child-friendly books, websites, museums, and poems.

A substantive and affirming addition to any collection. (Informational picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0749-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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