Conceptually elegant, visually clean, uncluttered—and sure to inspire young artists everywhere.

SHAPES

From the Zoe and Zack series

A charming lesson for young Michaelangelos and O’Keeffes on drawing geometric shapes—and from them, simple representational images.

Artist-turned-educator-turned–children’s book creator Duquennoy has created an entertaining and inventive vehicle to teach youngsters both basic shapes and some simple drawings that can be made with them. As with the simultaneously published companion volume, Opposites, this book makes clever use of die-cut pages, here combined with clear acetate windows to show children how simple lines become familiar shapes, then toys and animals. Zack the chameleon draws a curved semicircle on one page; on the facing page, Zoe the zebra can be seen drawing a complementary semicircle on the clear window between them. When the page is turned, the two curved lines combine to form a circle. Zack draws more circles, and Zoe does the same, in seemingly random patterns, until a turn of the page creates a composite image of a teddy bear. Squares can be used, the two friends suggest, to draw a robot. Triangles are used to draw fish. All three shapes can be combined to construct a rudimentary but clearly recognizable “beautiful bird…ready to fly high in the sky.” It’s an admirably simple device to encourage crayon aficionados with still-developing motor skills to make the jump from scribbles to basic representational drawing.

Conceptually elegant, visually clean, uncluttered—and sure to inspire young artists everywhere. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-74708-699-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Genial starter nonfiction.

THE HUMAN BODY

From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this.

ABCS OF ART

From “Apple” to “Zebra,” an alphabet of images drawn from museum paintings.

In an exhibition that recalls similar, if less parochial, ABCs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (My First ABC, 2009) and several other institutions, Hahn presents a Eurocentric selection of paintings or details to illustrate for each letter a common item or animal—all printed with reasonable clarity and captioned with identifying names, titles, and dates. She then proceeds to saddle each with an inane question (“What sounds do you think this cat is making?” “Where can you find ice?”) and a clumsily written couplet that unnecessarily repeats the artist’s name: “Flowers are plants that blossom and bloom. / Frédéric Bazille painted them filling up this room!” She also sometimes contradicts the visuals, claiming that the horses in a Franz Marc painting entitled “Two Horses, 1912” are ponies, apparently to populate the P page. Moreover, her “X” is an actual X-ray of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard, showing that the artist repainted his subject’s face…interesting but not quite in keeping with the familiar subjects chosen for the other letters.

Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4938-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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