Ideal for young listeners and beginning readers who are making their first word associations.



Another oversized picture book by Swedish artist Arrhenius (Main Street Magic, 2017; Animals, 2016) introduces very young children to the sights and colors of the city.

Flat, Lego-like figures of varying skin tones populate the European-inflected city scenes, which include a movie theater, bookstore, port, airport, art museum, construction site, bakery, zoo, pool, park, hospital, and school. Some figures reappear in different illustrations, prompting a seek-and-find game or even a rudimentary narrative. The only word on each page is the title of each scene or activity, which is engagingly integrated with the illustration, designed in a type to match the place or activity to which it refers. “MOVIE THEATER” appears on the marquee; each letter of “soccer” appears on a different ball being kicked around; “dogs” is composed of the leashes that connect the pets and their owners; the word “museum” becomes a tumbled sculpture of letters. Retro, stylish, and elegant in design, with plenty of detail to engage young kids, this big, bright tome will be a great tool for use in a preschool classroom or library reading circle. Two spreads at the end of the book, in the form of one-sided poster pages, provide a picture dictionary of the words illustrated in the book, labeled in clear caps.

Ideal for young listeners and beginning readers who are making their first word associations. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0257-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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In rhyming verse, a series of “if…then” statements presents animals and their young while expressing parental love.

Unfortunately, the slight concept is brought down by a number of missteps. The first is poor logic, evident from the opening parent-child animal pair: “If you were a calf, then I’d be a moose.” While it is true that baby moose are called calves, they are hardly the only animals whose young bear that moniker. Even children with very little exposure to the concept will likely know that baby cattle are also called calves, and they may well know that elephant and whale babies are called calves as well. So why, if they were a calf, would their parent necessarily be a moose? Several other examples share this weakness, including chicks (loons), kits (skunks), and pups (bats)—and these are just in the first two double-page spreads. Even when the name for the baby is sufficiently restrictive for the logic to work, stumbling verse often lets readers down: “If you were a cygnet, then I’d be a swan. / I’d teach you to ride on my back, just hop on!” Saylor’s cut-paper–collage illustrations are bright and attractive, depicting smiling but otherwise fairly realistic animal pairs. They replicate a frequent error, however, in representing a wasps’ nest instead of the beehive it’s meant to be (possibly wisely, there is no attempt to depict the “larva” of the verse).

Misses the mark . (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-746-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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From the My First Fairy Tales series

This board-book retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” features colorful, retro-style illustrations and a few movable flaps.

This version of the red-caped protagonist sports a distinctive cone-shaped hood as she enacts the familiar motions of the story. The sturdy interactions include a swinging basket, a blanket that covers the wolf on Grandma’s bed, a spinner that depicts the wolf’s dreams; they give younger kids something to manipulate but do not add much to the story. There are regrettable inaccuracies and elisions in Bradley’s adaptation of Maurin’s translation of the original French text. The neck of a bottle protrudes from the basket, which readers are told contains “cake and butter” for Grandma, and the wolf wears a pair of frilly pajamas, which the text calls “one of [Grandma’s] nightgowns.” This quick story ends with the hunter shown wielding a pair of scissors on the wolf’s bulging belly as the text recounts that he “rescued Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother” (who emerge unscathed with the pull of a tab). One of the main disappointments of this shortened (but still text-heavy) version is that it skips the “Grandma, what big eyes you have!” routine. The publisher recommends an age range of “0-36 months,” which is consistent with the format but not with the audience’s developmental readiness. Companion title Pinocchio, with illustrations by Tiago Americo, is similarly awkward and unsuitable.

Skip. (Novelty board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-7338-5625-3

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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