Serviceable, reasonably toddler-friendly fare.

READ REVIEW

POP-UP OCEAN

Denizens of the deep in diminutive 3-D displays.

Arranged in a seemingly arbitrary sequence, the 15 figures popping up, one per spread, in this small, square volume include some dolllike humans or human artifacts but are mostly very simply rendered sea animals sporting smiles and big eyes. All feature one- or two-word identifiers and hover above monochrome backgrounds enhanced, sometimes, with a simple nautical detail. The pop-ups, constructed largely from reverse folds, are designed as static compositions aside from a crab that waves its claws at viewers as the spread opens. Other than a similar but not identical boat and a subway train, the equally simple vehicles in the co-published Pop-Up Things That Go! roll on or fly over dry land. In both books, human figures are all white except for one of three firefighters and a child collecting a cone from the “ice cream van” in Things That Go! (which also places the driver of its bus on the British side).

Serviceable, reasonably toddler-friendly fare. (Pop-up picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0119-2

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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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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Attractive but disappointing.

WILD ANIMAL SOUNDS

From the Little Kids First Board Books series

National Geographic brings its gorgeous, accurate wildlife photography to toddlers.

One double-page spread is devoted to each of 10 animals (some may feel that calling chipmunks, frogs, and ducks “wild” is stretching it a bit). The animals hail from all over the map—from an elephant and a zebra to a black bear and a wolf. The sound each creature makes begins the text, followed by a sentence speculating what the animal might be communicating. Six of the spreads highlight an additional animal fact in a bright yellow circle. White thought bubbles on seven spreads that attempt to inject humor are less successful. For example, in response to the wolf’s howl, the wolf pups think, “Should we answer?” Similarly, on a different spread, the primary text reads, “Roar! Time for dinner, the mother tiger calls.” The tiger cub wonders in response, “What’s the catch of the day?” The typical board-book audience of babies and toddlers will not get the jokes, and preschoolers are ready for more-substantial books. The needless anthropomorphization detracts from what could be simple, useful nonfiction. The final spread reprises six of the animals in a guessing game to “Match the animals with the sounds they make.” Ocean, published simultaneously, is similarly formatted (and flawed), but all the creatures featured share the ocean habitat.

Attractive but disappointing. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3466-5

Page Count: 26

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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