PETS

From the Hello, World! series

With its companion, a vibrantly illustrated, expertly written offering for young animal lovers.

Learn about domestic animals in the latest addition to McDonald’s Hello World! series.

Whether they are wild or domesticated, animals are fascinating creatures. In this cheery outing, McDonald introduces young readers to a variety of animals that live with humans, including rabbits, cats, frogs, and dogs. Companion title Arctic Animals, on the other hand, focuses on the wild and wonderful creatures that live in the world’s coldest, northernmost region, including polar bears, narwhals, snowy owls, and puffins. McDonald’s talent for curating relevant, fascinating, and child-friendly facts is fully on display in both of these volumes. Both books focus mostly on the physical characteristics of the animals and birds, pairing the descriptions with textured, collage-style illustrations that also enliven the type, particularly in cases of onomatopoeia. Arctic Animals simply and clearly introduces concepts like hibernation and camouflage while Pets provides a bit of specific information about how to care for the animals depicted. It also includes questions on each two-page spread that invite children to participate in the storytelling by moving their bodies like the pets they are reading about: Readers are asked to “twitch” their noses like rabbits, “stretch” like cats, and “hop” like frogs. Both books are excellent choices for budding naturalists, zookeepers, veterinarians, and pet owners.

With its companion, a vibrantly illustrated, expertly written offering for young animal lovers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64759-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

FUTURE ENGINEER

From the Future Baby series

A book about engineering notable mostly for its illustrations of diverse characters. (Board book. 1-3)

Babies and engineers have more in common than you think.

In this book, Alexander highlights the unlikely similarities between babies and engineers. Like engineers, babies ask questions, enjoy building, and learn from their mistakes. Black’s bold, colorful illustrations feature diverse babies and both male- and female-presenting adult characters with a variety of skin tones and hair colors, effectively demonstrating that engineers can be any race or either gender. (Nonbinary models are a little harder to see.) The story ends with a reassurance to the babies in the book that “We believe in you!” presumably implying that any child can be an engineer. The end pages include facts about different kinds of engineers and the basic process used by all engineers in their work. Although the book opens with a rhythmic rhyming couplet, the remaining text lacks the same structure and pattern, making it less entertaining to read. Furthermore, while some of the comparisons between babies and engineers are both clever and apt, others—such as the idea that babies know where to look for answers—are flimsier. The book ends with a text-heavy spread of facts about engineering that, bereft of illustrations, may not hold children’s attention as well as the previous pages. Despite these flaws, on its best pages, the book is visually stimulating, witty, and thoughtful.

A book about engineering notable mostly for its illustrations of diverse characters. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31223-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

SHAPES ALL AROUND

Don’t judge this book by its cover; there’s an unusual concept and whimsical illustrations hiding underneath

A series of solid shapes substitute for natural objects in this board book that is somewhere between concept book and riddle game.

What’s that shape supposed to be? Running across a rust-brown labeled triangle, amid trees and elk, the text “Climb a TRIANGLE to the top” suggests the shape is a mountain; in an ocean scene with a red “STAR washed in on the waves,” the shape implies a sea star. Ample visual cues give young readers enough context to guess what the shape evokes, with some unexpected touches, such as “HEXAGON” printed on hexagonal honeycombs buzzing with bees and surrounded by golden flowers. Short, commanding sentences keep things humming, but with only six shapes covered, the book feels all too brief. Illustrator Devernay combines delicate pencil line drawings and sketchy gray-black shading with tiny, meticulously cut colored-paper collage to create her plants and animals. The most intimate drawings amaze. Close-ups of smooth stones are so appealing that readers will long to pick one up and “rub a smooth OVAL between thumb and finger.” Sadly, the cover doesn’t do the interior justice, and things get murky when several hues mix there and on the final spread. But on other spreads, where there’s a single color, it pops against the gray, such as the minute yellow beaks on the flock of charcoal birds circling the yellow “CIRCLE” sun.

Don’t judge this book by its cover; there’s an unusual concept and whimsical illustrations hiding underneath . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-56846-317-9

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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