Informative and entertaining; good for ocean units, displays, or just plain browsing.

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THE CRAB ALPHABET BOOK

Who knew there were so many kinds of crabs? At least 26, in fact.

Pallotta is known for his many alphabet books, ringing the abecedarian changes on such subjects as construction equipment, victory gardens, “icky bugs,” herbs and spices, and dinosaurs, to name just a few. Here, he brushes the sand off of crabs from A to Z. Readers will learn that crabs are decapods, a term that means 10 feet, with crabs qualifying by having eight legs and two claws. The subject itself is intriguing, and paired with Leonard’s realistic acrylic illustrations, the result is striking. Many readers would know a few types, such as fiddler, blue, (zebra) hermit, and king, but most will likely be a surprise: Christmas Island, Halloween, mitten, ghost, velvet, xeno, and yeti. Kids will giggle at the ninja crab and the pom pom crab (which “holds venomous anemones in its claws”). The book is nicely designed, with a capital and lowercase letter in the top corner of each page and the illustration framed with a white border. Humorous notes (“please don’t call a grumpy teacher a crabby teacher—it’s not nice!”) and informational tidbits (“If a crab loses a claw or a leg, it grows back”) appear in faux hand-lettered callout boxes throughout. The Sea Mammal Alphabet Book publishes simultaneously, struggling a bit to meet the ABC format and lacking the impressive unity of this title.

Informative and entertaining; good for ocean units, displays, or just plain browsing. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-57091-144-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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