Paired, overlapping circles form the basis of the "prata" people and animals that open Emberley's latest batch of step-by-step drawing demonstrations. He explains in the front endpapers (there is no paper wasted here) that prata is an old Irish name for potato, but these cartoon figures might just as well be based on peanut forms. Departing from pratai, Emberley also has some fun with snakes, with cats and dogs based on log shapes (thus "cat-a-logs" and "dog-a-logs"), with dressed-up tracings of hands, and with other more complicated figures including a Jekyll-Hyde head that flips personalities as you turn it upside down. Complete with Dracula, a three-masted schooner, and the resident fauna of planet Zort, this seems to be a catchall for Emberley's odds and ends—not as basic and nifty as some of his drawing books, though ingenious enough to amuse.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1980

ISBN: 0316789763

Page Count: 91

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1980

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Local readers may love this, but others will probably want to give it a miss.


From the Naturally Local series

In this board book, Mullen (The Colors of Ancient Egypt, 2016) brings readers the vibrant colors of the vegetation and wildlife common to the Pacific Northwest: flowers, birds, animals, a fish, and a mushroom.

Each color is featured on a double-page spread, with the name of the color in capital letters and the capitalized name of the organism along with an illustration on one side and an additional, full-page image of the organism on the other. This book features unusual color pairings. Some of them may be more familiar, at least in broad strokes, to toddlers (silver coho salmon, green Douglas fir, white bald eagle, black bear), than others (red sapsucker, blue camas, brown pine marten, yellow chanterelle mushroom, pink bleeding heart). The digitally created illustrations are large, vibrant, and graphically stylized, with colorful patterned backgrounds. The unrealistic illustrations of chanterelles look like flowers in one view and yellow cupcakes in the other, and only the heads of the sapsucker and bald eagle are their respective colors, which may be confusing. This board book may be useful for young readers in that part of the country; however readers elsewhere may want to stick with such favorites as Tad Hills’ Colors! (2015), Divya Srinivasan’s Little Owl’s Colors (2015) and Simms Taback’s Colors (2009).

Local readers may love this, but others will probably want to give it a miss. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-938093-80-7

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Duo Press

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A visually interesting but disorganized reader that features images from a museum with a problematic history.



From the Early Learning at the Museum series

A vocabulary-building board book featuring artifacts from the collection of the British Museum.

Each item chosen from the museum’s historically and geographically expansive collection is paired with large, bold text, introducing children to representations of each term that hail from a variety of cultures. Along with companion title Animals, it showcases a range of artistic styles, from paintings and prints through plaster of Paris, brass, and wooden sculptures to well-worn household materials. Although the concept behind the curation is interesting, unfortunately, neither this title nor Animals rises above the aesthetic level of a typical board book of its ilk. This title in particular lacks cohesion, as the images are not organized alphabetically or according to theme, as many vocabulary books are, making the images and words feel arbitrary. Several pages feature multiple images that are separated only by bold blocks of color, which creates a cluttered look. Furthermore, a number of the artifacts featured in both books appear to have been made during the pre-independence era in countries that were once part of the British Empire, suggesting that they may have become part of the collection as a result of colonization, a fact that the book’s creators leave disturbingly unaddressed.

A visually interesting but disorganized reader that features images from a museum with a problematic history. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0584-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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