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

TRUTH WITH SOCRATES

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.

WHERE DO YOU POOP?

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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Appealing characters, novel presentation, and useful concepts—a winner! (Board book. 1-3)

OPPOSITES

From the Zoe and Zack series

A clever introduction to the concept of opposites for the board-book set.

Clear, simple drawings and the ingenious use of die-cut pages illustrate several paired, contrary concepts. Zoe, a zebra, and her friend Zack, a chameleon, introduce readers to a series of geographical, physical, and emotional antipodes. On the first two pages, the two friends run down parallel sets of stairs; turn the page with the die-cut staircase, and those very same images of Zoe and Zack appear to be bounding up the stairs. In the next spread, Zoe and Zack sit sadly, watching a caged bird. Turn the die-cut page, and the bars of the cage become the stems of flowers, as the bird flies free to the obvious delight of the now-happy friends. Readers will easily grasp the contrasted concepts, although not all of the words are exact antonyms. “Happy” is paired with “sad” and also with “angry.” A castle is “knocked down,” rather than broken, and then “fixed.” The book was originally published in French; some of the featured terms may have been more obvious opposites prior to (the uncredited) translation. Perhaps the weakest pairing is “upset” and “not upset anymore,” although the expression of opposites through negation is a useful, age-appropriate construction, and the meaning, expressed in terms of lost ice cream and the palliative power of sharing, couldn’t be clearer.

Appealing characters, novel presentation, and useful concepts—a winner! (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-74708-700-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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