Silly and instructive; an animal lover’s delight.




Playful puppies with big personalities illustrate pairs of opposites.

Professional photographer and author Coates presents a cast of cuddly, exuberant puppies who model a variety of useful pairs of opposite terms. “Front” and “back,” “far” and “near,” “awake” and “asleep,” and six other pairs of vocabulary words come to life in these charming and funny photos. Amusing comments from the four-legged models add an element of laughter and a hint of chaos, as well. A tiny picture of a Boston terrier, set back in the upper-left corner on an otherwise white page, accompanies the text “Max is far,” as Max calls out from the distance, “Hello-o-o!” On the facing page, “Max is near,” and a close-up of the dog’s face fills the page; Max says, in alarm, “Whoa! TOO close!” Sophie, an adorable Portuguese water dog, is “dry” on one page, remarking, “I need a bath.” The facing page reads, “Sophie is wet,” and the damp and annoyed-looking pup is wrapped in a towel, saying, “I need a hug.” All the dogs are photographed in color and presented on a plain white background, which makes the ideas presented in each photo impossible to miss. Featured vocabulary is printed in colored type. The front and back covers also feature Max, face-first or backside-first respectively, announcing “This is the front!” and “This is the back!”

Silly and instructive; an animal lover’s delight. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-847-8

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Good intentions gone wrong.


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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There are better fish in the board-book sea.


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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