A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary.

MY FIRST BUSY BOOK

From the World of Eric Carle series

The latest addition to the World of Eric Carle is proof that the Wilder Award–winning picture-book creator knows what appeals to children.

This board book is both developmentally appropriate and aesthetically pleasing—perfect for toddlers. In a sturdy, oversize (10 1/2 inches square) format, Carle recycles iconic images from his vast canon to introduce shapes, colors, numbers, animals, and sounds. The flower on the cover is almost (but not quite) identical to the flower that grows from The Tiny Seed (1970). Seeing the animals throughout the pages is like recognizing old friends. But Carle and the book’s designer, Hannah Frece, put these familiar images to fresh uses to create a logical, accessible, and harmonious concept book. Although billed as a “busy book,” it is not hyperactive, using just five or six images per spread. From the mirror that lights up the sun on the cover to the touch-and-feel inserts on the page about animals to the single flap that hides a mouse from a cat, the tactile elements have been chosen with intention instead of just as gimmicks. On other pages, foils and textures are subtle, with many barely raised images that invite tracing.

A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5791-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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While the likely answer is no, this offering is still a visually captivating delight for careful little ones. (Board book....

ALPHABLOCK

From the Block Books series

In this ABC book, shaped pages lead readers to corresponding objects.

The usual alphabet objects are presented here in the straightforward text: “A IS FOR... // APPLE.” The graphically appealing design devotes two double-page spreads to each letter. In the first spread, the right-hand side is a full-size, die-cut letter, while the left depicts a scene. A portion of the object, animal or person the featured letter stands for peeks through the die-cut openings; a cheery, red octopus smiles through the hole of the “O,” and the tail of a fish is visible from behind the “F.” Once the letter/page is turned, the background from the previous left-hand page blends seamlessly with the full double-page spread that’s revealed. The visual hints provide a playful guessing game for young readers, with a nice balance of the easily recognizable (the nose of a train emerges from behind the “T”) to the slightly more challenging (the handle of a pair of scissors sticks out from the middle of the “S”). With a pleasing, retro feel, Peskimo’s art uses bold colors in a slightly muted hue and the weathered look of woodblock prints. The book’s construction is the only real concern, as 104 board pages are a lot for any binding. Will the die-cut letters survive the vigorous page turns of doubtless eager readers?

While the likely answer is no, this offering is still a visually captivating delight for careful little ones. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0936-4

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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