Parents seeking to unplug their children from electronic devices should seek out more interactive board books, such as those...

PLAY

From the Baby Unplugged series

The 10th in the Baby Unplugged series, an earnest exhortation to play. 

A multicultural cast of preschool children and a few parental figures go through a happy day of play with nary an iPad, television screen or Kindle in sight. Curiously, the adults are mostly light-skinned, but some of the children have darker skin and curly hair. For the most part, the rhyming text works: "Roll a ball across the floor. / Build a box house with a door." But occasionally, extra words inserted to keep the syllable count consistent interrupt the flow: "Bang pots and pans, make fun sounds! / Stack blocks high off of the ground." Pastel-tinted line drawing by Jones are pleasant but not distinct. The clear graphic illustrations by Andrea Kang that grace the earlier books in the series provide stronger images for very young children. The back cover lists nine rules to "Unplug and Play Every Day." That message seems to be the real purpose of this book.

Parents seeking to unplug their children from electronic devices should seek out more interactive board books, such as those by Lorena Siminovich, Brian Biggs and Hervé Tullet. (Board book. 18 mos.-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936669-23-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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