Sugarcoated nursery didactics.



For preschoolers, an introduction to ideas referencing the Big Bang, evolution, and more.

The simple text is laid out over digital drawings that are filled in with blocks of muted color; they depict sweet-faced critters and racially diverse humans against backdrops that take readers from the beginning to modern times. The first text page shows a round, black dot with faint swirls of blue surrounding it: “One day a dot appeared.” The dot bursts because “it was so excited to be there.” More dots arrive and coalesce with the first, light enters the scene, and the blue planet appears, third from the sun. Dots become shapes that play games; these games change from “Catch the Light” to “Eat or Be Eaten”; fish move to land; dinosaurs appear; a comet wipes out the dinosaurs; a small, furry creature survives and generates an evolving line of mammals; primates that look like chimpanzees become people; people keep getting smarter as they teach and learn; a modern family shows up on the scene cradling “you” (depicted as a mixed-race child with a brown-skinned dad and pale-skinned mom). Whew! The use of the word “dot” for several different objects—primordial matter, planets, a comet, etc.—cleverly provides continuity, as does the recurring refrain in which each creature does “whatever it needed to stay alive.” However, the oversimplification of ideas creates an underlying implication that animals are the only living things and that humans are superior beings; there is no hint of ecological interdependence.

Sugarcoated nursery didactics. (timeline) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-244-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the pirate ship...pick the playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.


This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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