While there is plenty of good information here, the too-busy design, the jumble of images, and the long text skew this...

READ REVIEW

I CAN GROW A FLOWER

Youngsters can chart the growth of a sunflower, from seed to bloom.

An unseen narrator (except for a pair of hands with a beige complexion) wonders what a handful of striped seeds will grow into. Readers see one of these seeds sprout, grow roots, and emerge from the soil of a small pot. Next the plant is transferred outside to a garden where it can grow large and blossom. The last double-page spread shows the full life cycle of a sunflower from seed to flower on the verso, while the recto includes a 10-word glossary, rare for the format. The text, printed in a distractingly wavy typeface, is a mishmash of perky narration, captions, and prompts encouraging youngsters to explore the scenes more deeply. The overbusy illustrations work best when they present a cross section to allow readers to observe the sunflower’s root system. Some of the artwork, which is an odd mix of cartoons, near-realistic computer-generated images, and photos, looks incongruous, presenting cartoon leaves and clip-art–like ladybugs atop photos of flowers. Why the creators chose to go with this visual hash when DK’s wealth of clear and beautiful photography is at their disposal is baffling.

While there is plenty of good information here, the too-busy design, the jumble of images, and the long text skew this offering beyond the grasp of core board-book readers. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4654-7259-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy.

SUMMER

A POP-UP BOOK

From the Seasons Pop-Up series

Carter completes his round of seasonal tributes with pop-up sprays of luscious-looking small fruits, garden bounty, and bright flowers.

As before, the locale is a generalized western United States, and both early- and late-season flora and foliage are on display in the same scenes. Along with lots of labels for the neatly limned animals and vegetation in each broad, idyllic landscape—from a “cedar waxwing” nibbling on a “cherry” to the marbled-paper “chickens” pecking beneath a tree heavy with ripe apples—he adds leading questions (“Who eats the flowers?” “Who looks like a stick?”) to invite closer looks. Frisky “chipmunks” are named in the first tableau, then visible without an identifier in each of the following five for younger viewers to point out. Highlighted by a spiraling cucumber vine that turns the vegetable garden into a convincing tangle, the pop-ups are simple and (relatively) sturdy but rear gracefully to surprising heights considering the volume’s small trim size.

Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy. (Informational pop-up picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2832-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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