Like Amelia Earhart’s plane, this bare-bones rundown of history is going to fly far out of range of what is developmentally...

THIS LITTLE EXPLORER

A PIONEER PRIMER

From the This Little series

This “Pioneer Primer” introduces little ones to Leif Erikson, Marco Polo, Sacajwea, and more.

On the book’s first two pages, these and seven other explorers are pictured against an inaccurate world map. Holub’s serviceable rhyming couplets appear on the verso of the next 10 double-page spreads accompanied by a small portrait of the featured explorer. On the recto, there is a full-page image of the subject in action with a small one or two-sentence caption that shares further details. Roode’s brightly hued illustrations are lightheartedly goofy, turning these famous folk into bobble-head dolls with huge eyes. This does not serve these historic icons well; Matthew Henson looks anxious despite the accompanying verse declaring him “brave and bold,” and Neil Armstrong looks little older than the intended toddler audience. The final two pages include 11 additional explorers, with nods to diversity with the inclusion of Zheng He and six women, leaving a 12th spot with a question mark labeled “You!” for readers to imagine themselves in the mix. It’s hard to imagine many in the diapered audience who will have enough understanding of exploration or world history after this simplistic introduction to take advantage of that invitation, though.

Like Amelia Earhart’s plane, this bare-bones rundown of history is going to fly far out of range of what is developmentally appropriate for toddlers. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7175-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

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Good concept and illustrations; best for households familiar with the observance.

DAY OF THE DEAD

A COUNT AND FIND PRIMER

Children can count from one to 10 with items related to the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead.

Joyful and energy-filled illustrations portray different people and objects that are part of the holiday. No. 1 is a comparsa, here described simplistically as “a carnival-like celebration” though a comparsa is not a celebration but a defined group of people that take part in the celebration. The other items are two catrinas, three “photographs of the departed,” four crowns of flowers, five musicians, six pan de muertos (“bread of the dead”), seven marigolds, eight candles, nine papel picado (“tissue paper art”), and 10 sugar skulls. For each item, readers must find the required number within the illustration. Some are easier than others, but all will have children looking and taking in the myriad details to be found in each double-page spread. At the end, the author has included 10 additional objects for children to go back and look for in the illustrations. The backmatter also includes a little information on each item. Children acquainted with this holiday will recognize the familiar objects; children for whom this is a new holiday will need some adult guidance, as the book gives no explanation for the reason for the holiday. Though most of people portrayed sport masks, the skin tones perceived range from pink to different shades of brown.

Good concept and illustrations; best for households familiar with the observance. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4236-5426-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Rhymes and sturdy pages do not necessarily make a book right for toddlers; don’t expect this little book to please the...

THIS LITTLE PRESIDENT

A PRESIDENTIAL PRIMER

From the This Little series

Presidents for toddlers? Really?

Ten U.S. presidents who were anything but “little” are featured in a rhyming board book. The choice of presidents is predictable: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, Grant, both Roosevelts, Kennedy, Reagan, and Obama. On verso, a four-line stanza is accompanied by a uniformly vapid-looking presidential “portrait,” and on recto, readers find a bit of presidential trivia and a slightly more detailed illustration. Selecting presidential achievements understandable to toddlers, an almost impossible task, results in oversimplification. John Adams, best known for diplomacy and the Alien and Sedition acts, is reduced to being the first vice president and the first president to live in the White House. Some information presented as fact is actually debated by presidential scholars on both the right and left. For example, speaking of Ronald Reagan, Holub asserts, “He brought the world together both near and far.” The spread about Kennedy (“He sent our first astronaut into outer space”) features a picture of Kennedy golfing with an astronaut as his caddy—a reference that only an adult will understand.

Rhymes and sturdy pages do not necessarily make a book right for toddlers; don’t expect this little book to please the little people for whom it was ostensibly designed. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5850-4

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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