An empowering package that needs adult intercession.

DREAM BIG

Youngsters meet accomplished women, both historic and contemporary.

Zaha Hadid admires one of her buildings; Amelia Earhart flies an airplane; and Harriet Tubman braves the woods at night. In alternating double- and single-page spreads, prominent women are depicted with oversized, oval heads and toddler-esque bodies along with the activities they are known for. This design choice may both attract and confuse little ones, as the audience is likely to assume these figures are children. The text follows a gentle pattern with the two-word phrases appearing on the single-page spreads and a three-word phrase on the double-page spreads. For the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, poet/author Maya Angelou, and scientist Jane Goodall, the verse reads: “Dream FAR, / Dream WIDE, // Dream WILD dreams.” However, the name of each featured woman is hard to find, as it hidden in a very small, script type embedded in each illustration. Thankfully, a list of all the women presented appears in the back along with a short description of their accomplishment. The diversity of the women presented is refreshing, as 10 of the 15 figures are people of color. While many of the activities these women engage in will be accessible to toddlers, such as Frida Kahlo’s painting and Florence Griffith Joyner’s running, others may take more explanation from a grown-up, such as the math and science of Katherine Johnson and Chien-Shiung Wu. The final double-page spread encourages children to follow their own dreams in a setting that shows women engaged in a variety of activities.

An empowering package that needs adult intercession. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33868-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Purchase for some temporary interactive Halloween fun.

MY MAGICAL WITCH

From the My Magical Friends series

Four green-faced witches fly through this durable board book looking for Halloween fun.

A turn of the notched wheel embedded in the cover page changes the sparkly stripes on a witch’s hat, cape, and broom. Three more witches join the fun inside. Though not identified by gender, all wear dresses. All the interactive elements are focused on the first witch, who wears fluffy orange hair in two pigtails. One slider simultaneously lifts a broom and plops a straight hat on top of that hair. Another slides the witch across the night sky. A second wheel shows the ingredients being added to a cauldron. A final slider magically produces three black cats. Two lines of (uncredited) rhyming text on each of the four double-page spreads hint at what the interactive element will reveal. While the text is conveniently placed in the same spot on each spread, the vocabulary is peppered with reach words for the toddler audience: “Off they swooped on whizzing brooms, / heading for the potions room.” Mice, pumpkins, spiderwebs, owls, brooms, bats, and other thematically appropriate objects and creatures scattered across the busy pages place the book firmly in the Halloween genre. Unnamed and primarily decorative, these seemingly arbitrary additions distract from the slight story thread. Toddlers will readily manipulate the five smoothly performing interactive elements; unfortunately, the text and pictures are not equally enticing.

Purchase for some temporary interactive Halloween fun. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4463-1

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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