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by Duane Armitage & Maureen Doyle McQuerry ; illustrated by Robin Rosenthal

Pub Date: July 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-593-10875-8
Publisher: Putnam

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)