Though this feels rather like a bound set of attractive animal-themed flashcards, it might be just right for keen young...

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ABC ANIMALS

ALPACA, BONOBO, AND CHINCHILLA - 26 COOL NEW ANIMALS TO DISCOVER

From the Little Concepts series

Tired of learning about the same-old, same-old “cat” and “rabbit”? Here’s an opportunity to meet 26 new animal friends.

Opening on a verso with the usual critters and a recto crammed with lesser-known species, an awkwardly rhyming introduction challenges readers to learn more about unusual animals. Abruptly, the book then transitions into a traditional ABC format with “A is for Alpaca,” presenting one letter and animal per page, a change that makes it read like an awkwardly stitched-together rhyming book and alphabet book. Its goal of broadening awareness of animal diversity is laudable, but with the creatures sporting only names and no other supporting information, readers might remain lost about what exactly is a “fossa” or a “quokka.” Thankfully, the book finds its hooves and paws with its graphically gorgeous design and illustrations. Showy, stylized animals achieve a delicate balance between cute yet realistic, and they look especially spiffy against sleekly patterned or richly saturated pastel backgrounds. Each double-page spread offers its own harmonious color combination, so the bright pink highlights and green-striped background of the “okapi” inversely mirror the opposite page’s “pademelon” and its vivid pink background and bushes in shades of green.

Though this feels rather like a bound set of attractive animal-themed flashcards, it might be just right for keen young zoologists. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-628-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Good intentions gone wrong.

BABY LOVES GRAVITY!

From the Baby Loves… series

A baby and a dog discover gravity in this appealingly illustrated, developmentally inappropriate book.

This and Baby Loves Coding are the latest offerings in the Baby Loves Science series of board books. These cute but overzealous attempts to create STEM students from children fresh from the womb seem aimed more at pushy parents than at doctoral candidates in diapers. Previous volumes have featured toddlers who love quarks, aerospace engineering, thermodynamics, and quantum physics. The contents of this book have been vetted for scientific accuracy; one wonders whether the creative team also vetted the practical value of teaching preschoolers to parrot answers to questions they’re ill-equipped to pose or indeed comprehend: “Why does a noodle fall? / Because of gravity!” Babies will have observed the central action this book presents—the fall to the floor of some tidbit from their highchair trays—over and over, but does “When Baby drops something, the earth pulls it down” adequately describe the phenomenon? For a toddler audience, even simple explanations of the science in this book require more exposition than board books allow and raise more questions than they answer. “Everything is made of matter. The amount of matter is called mass.” OK, what is matter? And if gravity makes spaghetti fall to Earth, why does it make the moon go around it? The baby has brown skin and tightly curled black hair.

Good intentions gone wrong. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-836-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors.

BABY'S FIRST BOOK OF BIRDS & COLORS

Gorgeous birds amid foliage of similar hues introduce eight basic colors.

The two birds presented on each spread not only are of similar coloration, but also live in the same North American habitat. A scarlet tanager and a cardinal, both male, perch in a red maple tree; a male Eastern bluebird and a blue jay appear with morning glories and blueberries. The name of each color is printed in large font, while the name of each bird is in a much smaller one. Whether the bird shown is male or female, or if the male and female have similar coloring, is also indicated. The names of the trees they perch upon are identified in a note on the back cover. These details will be lost on most toddlers, but caregivers will appreciate being able to answer questions knowledgeably. Colors featured are from the standard box of crayons, except that pink is substituted for purple. Black and white share a spread. The cover image, of a cardinal, goldfinch, and bluebird in a birdbath, is not nearly as inviting as the images within. The final spread shows children (one white, one black, one Asian) assembling a puzzle that includes the same birds. This may serve as a reprise but will probably be skipped over. Bird-loving readers will probably feel that the space could have been put to better use by giving white birds their own page or adding a purple martin.

Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-742-6

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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