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

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 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

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. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity.

STARRY SKIES

LEARN ABOUT THE CONSTELLATIONS ABOVE US

Young earthlings turn starry skies into playscapes in this first look at constellations.

On a page first glimpsed through a big die-cut hole in the front cover, Chagollan promises that stars “tell a thousand stories.” She goes on to describe brief scenarios in which residents of Earth interact with 15 Northern Hemisphere constellations. These range from Benjamin’s battle with a fierce dragon beneath Draco to a trio of unnamed ducklings who use the Swan to “find their way home.” Six further starry clusters bearing only labels are crowded into the final spread. In illustrations composed of thin white lines on matte black backgrounds (the characters formed by the stars are glossy), Aye colors significant stars yellow, connects them with dots, and encloses them in outlines of mythological figures that are as simply drawn as the animals and humans (and mermaid) below. As a practical introduction, this has little to offer budding sky watchers beyond a limited set of constellations—two, the Big Dipper and the Summer Triangle, are not official constellations at all but classified as asterisms—that are inconsistently labeled in Latin or English or both. Despite a closing invitation to go out and “find these stars in the sky,” the book provides no sky maps or verbal guidelines that would make that actually possible.

A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-509-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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