An informative book that should fire young imaginations and foster an interest in the ways we take to the skies.

READ REVIEW

FRIENDLY FLIERS

From the Finn's Fun Trucks series

Vehicle-loving author Coyle turns his attention skyward in this guide to flying conveyances.

Following the format of previous volumes in the Finn’s Fun Trucks series, a racially diverse crew, apparently three men and two women in this case, presents five different types of aircraft and explains the features and uses of each. Featured types of transport are a jumbo jet, glider, seaplane, helicopter, and “spaceplane” (space shuttle). Each vehicle is named by its pilot via dialogue balloon on verso and illustrated on the facing page, with three key features identified. That page then folds open to show the craft in action: “A helicopter can fly straight up and down. / This makes flying possible when there isn’t enough room for a plane to take off or land.” The book concludes with the five pilots asking, “Can you guess all the places our crew can fly?” The facing picture of all five vehicles folds open to show them all at work, with the answer: “EVERYWHERE!” The crew is depicted in a pleasantly cartoonish form, and the aircraft are rendered realistically, with appropriate detail. The foldout pages invite children’s participation and should help to keep even the squirmiest young readers engaged. The simultaneously published Space Squad volume encourages children to look even further upward and outward.

An informative book that should fire young imaginations and foster an interest in the ways we take to the skies. (Board book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1548-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

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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Clear, simple, fun, and delightfully age-appropriate.

BABY PALEONTOLOGIST

From the Baby Scientist series

Science for toddlers and preschoolers done right.

The current obsession for STEM education, often prioritized over teaching critical-thinking skills and cultivating an awareness of those parts of the human experience that make life fulfilling, has spawned a whole genre of board books for children. This “get ’em while they’re young” approach has spawned some misfires, which often seem designed to please pushy parents trying to produce the next Einstein rather than to satisfy a young learner’s natural curiosity. This book neatly evades that trap. It’s delightful, with a logic and clarity in articulation; bright, colorful, and uncluttered artwork; and concerning a topic that’s a proven kid-pleaser: dinosaurs. Beginning with a few simple declarative sentences, the writing flows naturally toward ever more complex ideas in a way that never goes over young heads: “Who studies fossils? Baby Paleontologist does! / Every fossil tells a story. Fossils tell the stories of plants and animals that lived long ago.” Any caregiver who has ever been asked “why” over and over should appreciate the easy pace of presentation. “Baby has fun putting together puzzles. What did this dinosaur look like? Baby Paleontologist puts the bones together just like a puzzle.” Presenting new and potentially complicated ideas in a way a young audience can understand is a puzzle in itself; here, mercifully, the pieces fit easily and naturally together.

Clear, simple, fun, and delightfully age-appropriate. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-284135-3

Page Count: 22

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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