SEASONS

Plenty to see for young animal (and plant) lovers, plus an expansive view of the concept of seasons.

Progressive split pages capture seasonal rounds and communities of wildlife in natural habitats worldwide.

Even the Arctic in winter has a populous look as Robin generously strews six broad, painted-paper–collage landscapes with flora and fauna that are strongly reminiscent of Eric Carle’s in color and composition. Most scenes are presented in a sequence of four increasingly larger, overlapped pages, one per season, arranged so that seams between seasons are artfully aligned. If Pang’s simply phrased commentary can’t always keep up, so that some of the wildlife on display goes unidentified, still it offers informational nourishment. This is conveyed in both specific facts (“The ostrich is the largest, heaviest bird in the world”) and big-picture explanations of what’s going on (“Behind giant dust clouds and swirling water, the Great Migration is taking place across the Mara River”). Moreover, in laudable contrast to the general run of seasonal albums, the usual spring-summer-fall-winter sequence changes up after opening views in and around a European oak. Alaskan scenes begin with autumn, China’s Yellow Dragon Valley with winter, and along with the Arctic’s binary winter and summer, both a mangrove swamp in northern Australia and Kenya’s Masaai Mara accurately see only “wet” and “dry” seasons. Human presence is confined to occasional pleas to be mindful of wild places.

Plenty to see for young animal (and plant) lovers, plus an expansive view of the concept of seasons. (Informational novelty. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-944530-37-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: 360 Degrees

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

ROCKET

A JOURNEY THROUGH THE PAGES BOOK

Ephemeral, though the interactive feature will likely prompt one or two voyages before the rocket flies off into oblivion.

A toy rocket propelled along a winding slot invites young astronauts to sample the wonders of outer space.

As in Vago and Rockefeller’s Train (2016), it’s all about the gimmick: a continuous slot cut into the heavy board pages that allows the small plastic vehicle (a retro-style rocket ship, here) to be pushed or pulled across each scene up to the edge and then around the edge to the next opening. Illustrating the generic rhyme (“Stars spin around in a cosmic race / Exploring the mysteries of outer space”), Rockefeller fills the starry firmament with flashes of light as the rocket soars past a crowd of glowing planets, winds its way through a thick field of “rocks,” pursues a comet, navigates a twinkling nebula, then swoops around a supernova to a die-cut hole that leads back to the first spread. The rocket is reasonably secure in its slot, but it can be reinserted easily enough should it fall (or, more likely, be pulled) out. The publisher suggests an age range of 4 through 8, likely in acknowledgment of the potential choking hazard the rocket ship poses, but the brevity and blandness of the text are unlikely to appeal to most in that range. Aside from a group of tiny figures watching the initial liftoff there are no people in the pictures.

Ephemeral, though the interactive feature will likely prompt one or two voyages before the rocket flies off into oblivion. (Novelty board book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0113-7

Page Count: 15

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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