Raises more questions than it answers…and that’s good.


While this book won’t help toddlers understand the scale of Socrates’ importance to Western thought, it presents some simple and vital moral truths and should get kids thinking about thinking.

In a spate of board books for toddlers aiming to introduce them to concepts perhaps better suited to college classrooms, this volume manages to be sweetly age appropriate. It will not give young children an appreciation of the Socratic method; in fact, no iteration of the term occurs. If it teaches children to value truth and honesty, though, and to build an inquisitive spirit, it will justify its place on a child’s bookshelf. As portrayed herein, Socrates is a brown-skinned, bearded old man with a toga, staff, and dog; he has large eyes and appears to be thinking hard. Simple, clear text explains, “A philosopher is someone who loves wisdom.… / Socrates was a philosopher who lived a long time ago.” A racially diverse cast of children, some with visible disabilities, explores their world, asking themselves, “Why am I here?” and “Where did the world come from?” The characters’ large oval heads allow for big, expressive faces with lots of personality. Contrasting pastels and a rich palette of distinct skin tones, varied fonts with colorful highlights, and eye-catching background patterns provide great visual appeal. “Socrates...said wisdom meant wondering about the truth.… / What is something you wonder about?”

Raises more questions than it answers…and that’s good. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10875-8

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A fun, new take on droppings.


Youngsters can learn about where and how various animals, domestic and wild, relieve themselves.

Via a pull-tab embedded in each recto (not, thankfully, in the rectum) readers can see the before and after, and a goldfish in a bowl leaves a trail while swimming. The verso asks each creature where it does its business, and then a (sometimes-forced) rhyming quatrain, translated from Italian, answers the question: “And where do YOU poop, mouse? / When inside my tummy / Starts to feel not so good / It’s time for a poop / On these chips made of wood!” The final double-page spread queries readers: “And where do YOU poop?” A redheaded, White toddler’s face is visible below this question; the pull-tab on the right opens a bathroom to reveal a White toddler, this time with medium brown hair, happily and modestly sitting on a blue toddler potty. The accompanying quatrain provides some developmentally appropriate guidance for feeling the signs of a movement coming on. Baruzzi’s art is droll and graphically clean (inasmuch as the depiction of excrement can be described that way). Little fingers may need some help finding the relatively easy-to-open and sturdy pull-tabs, since they blend into each page. It works as both a biology lesson and potty-training encouragement.  

A fun, new take on droppings. (Novelty board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66265-042-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Simultaneously iconic, well-meaning, and developmentally inappropriate.


Yes, Billie Jean King, Dr. Mae Jemison, and Malala Yousafzai were all babies at one time.

On each recto, there is a flap with the picture of a grown-up feminist icon. When the flap is opened, readers see a baby picture of this individual in a scene that includes an item that was visible through a die-cut hole. Grown-up Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s lace collar turns into baby Ruth’s bib, and both adult Frida Kahlo and baby Frida wear flowers in their hair. The patterned text is a series of simple reverse-order statements, each of which starts on the verso and finishes beneath the flap with a repeated refrain: “Before she imagined peace, Yoko Ono was… / a baby.” Walker adeptly creates recognizable images of well-known figures, but the expansive, cream-colored backgrounds dwarf and isolate many of the babes under the flaps. While empowering young girls is a worthy goal, the historical significance of these figures is likely to be lost on youngsters who are still learning the meanings of yesterday and today. The disembodied raised fists of adult Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes in their famous Esquire magazine photo and the baby-sized counterpart fists are particularly confusing. The four concluding double-page spreads consist of a review of the figures who have come before, some encouragement to follow in their footsteps, and a one- to two-sentence biography of each.

Simultaneously iconic, well-meaning, and developmentally inappropriate. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-48010-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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