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



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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Genial starter nonfiction.


From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.


More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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