Foster’s tour of New York is a delightful vocabulary builder; her London jaunt is a bit of a muddle.

READ REVIEW

JANE FOSTER'S NEW YORK

From the Jane Foster's Cities series

Twenty-two typical and mostly iconic sights offer young readers a taste of the Big Apple.

This exceptionally sturdy and elegantly designed board book is a perfect introduction to the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of New York City. Foster is both an illustrator and a textile designer. This happy combination of talents lends itself to engagingly executed images that are simple and tasteful in design but rich in small detail. Strong lines and uncluttered images stand out against boldly colored backgrounds, some monochromatic, others patterned. The Statue of Liberty, her robes, hair, and crown a deep blue, holds her torch aloft, yellow and orange flames bright against a rich, red background. The red fruit and green leaves depicting New York’s affectionate namesake, the “Big Apple,” stand out against a simple, repeating aqua-blue pattern. The omnipresent pigeon is transformed from urban nuisance to a thing of beauty by virtue of simple, complementary patterns and color on its wing, belly, and collar, the blue and gray of the bird highlighted against a dazzling, yellow patterned background. Text is confined to simple identifications of pictured items: “traffic lights,” “fire hydrant,” “pizza,” “pretzel,” “Brooklyn Bridge,” “Empire State Building,” and “hotdog,” for example. Though the book is non-narrative, the exciting and easily recognized images should make this primer on urban life a favorite. Publishing simultaneously, Jane Foster’s London offers the same pigeon in mirror image as well as a sampler of that city’s iconic images. The language is American: “mailbox” instead of “pillar box” or “post box,” “tennis racket,” instead of “tennis racquet,” and “rain boots” instead of “Wellingtons” or “wellies.” The plate of “fish and chips” depicts not a deep-fried fillet but an entire fish with staring eye surrounded by yellow rectangles and green circles (chips and peas, but not mushy ones).

Foster’s tour of New York is a delightful vocabulary builder; her London jaunt is a bit of a muddle. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0488-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good.

SHAPE UP, CONSTRUCTION TRUCKS!

Storytime gets a kick in the pants with this jaunty combo of shapes and vehicles.

In this look at basic geometry via high-resolution photographs of construction trucks, the youngest of readers are introduced to nine different shapes. Using a seek-and-find format, the book encourages them to locate each shape as it appears on a vehicle, clearly delineated with thick, colorful lines. A clear, red triangle decorates the bed of a dump truck; a blue oval surrounds the barrel of a concrete mixer. The rhyming text names the featured equipment, each shot with crystal clarity outdoors on a variety of beautiful days. From the jaunty little red forklift sporting a rectangle on its side to the rhombus of a road sign snapped at an angle, small fingers will have no difficulty tracing each of the featured shapes again and again. Similar in its cadences to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle (1967), this book is ideal for construction storytimes everywhere. “Road roller / Road roller / Coming through! / I spy a circle— / How about you?” Be sure to sing it to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” if you really want to bring down the house. Activities to further engage young children are included at the end of the book.

Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77278-134-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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