Make space on the bookshelf for this engaging title.

HONK, HONK, VROOM, VROOM

SOUNDS FROM THE CITY

From the Tough to Tear series

Onomatopoeic words representing city sounds invite children to guess what they are.

A completely black double-page spread with the words “Did you hear that?” printed in white starts the book and sets the tone. There will be no visual cues here, just an array of onomatopoeic words that prompt guesses. Some are easy: “Honk,” “vroom,” “beep,” and “zoom” clearly lead to cars. But others, such as “hustle,” “bustle,” “march,” “talk,” “walk,” and “go,” will make them think a little more before they turn the page to learn that it’s a group of lively pedestrians. Grown-ups reading with young children can help the game—and have fun along the way—by reading expressively, aided by the printing of key words in colored type. While the pages with the clues present colorful words simply set against a plain white background, the pages with the answers offer an explosion of bright, vibrant, and stylized mixed-media images portraying a diverse cast of city dwellers. Companion volume Rumble, Rumble, Grumble, Grumble shares the same presentation and concept, but the sounds here are related to nature. Both books have plenty of vocabulary-building heft, adding value to the guessing game: “screeching,” “shrieking,” and “hissing,” to name a few. The pages are made of a tear-resistant substance, making these good choices to take toddlers from board books to picture books.

Make space on the bookshelf for this engaging title. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1657-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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