Likely to miss its intended audience—but may find another.



From the Nerdy Babies series

A quartet of crawlers in eyeglasses and onesies gets the lowdown on weather.

Following up Space and Ocean (both 2019) in the Nerdy Babies series, Kastner breezes through a broad range of often complex meteorological topics, from rain, snow, and hail (“Precipitation!”) to select types of clouds, thunder and lightning, and the difference between “weather” and “climate.” How much of this the multiracial set of precocious toddlers on view (“The wind has socks?” asks one. “Kind of!” answers another) or the actual rug rats they supposedly represent will absorb is questionable. However, putting the information out there does at least make it available to caregivers, and the author’s repeated appeals to be, and stay, curious about the world is a worthy message for everyone. In a companion volume, Rocks, she makes the same plea while chipping away at the three types of rocks, geological formations, the rock cycle, and (without actually using the term, which is odd in a discourse featuring terms like “metamorphic” and “stalagmite”) plate tectonics. The “nerd” glasses are a cute, if stereotypical, conceit, but the babies are winningly expressive, and aside from a strangely drab rainbow in Weather, the illustrations add washes of bright color. Both titles are available in board editions, enabling caregivers to share them with an audience even less likely to understand them.

Likely to miss its intended audience—but may find another. (Informational picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-31231-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Genial starter nonfiction.


From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.


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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