ON MY SWIM

A quick, cute read, best for fidgety little readers

A family of four has an eventful day of exploratory fun at the beach.

In muted blues and browns, a multiracial family travels to the beach. A mom, dad, toddler, and infant—and their dog—walk through a wooded area to a serene beach. The family is on a summer swim outing. The young toddler narrator can hear the breeze, see a bird catch a fish, feel the sand, and see a wave. With each mention, the text indulges in patterned, repeated onomatopoeia: The breeze says, “whishery-whish”; the sand goes “squishery-squish.” Narrator and father play in the water, the narrator with water wings. A moment of drama is introduced when the father must rescue the mother’s hat, which has been blown into the water by the wind. This sequence is not so easy to visually decode, and some readers may be concerned that the child is in distress. Back on the beach, the happy dog is ready to play, and the squishy sand still offers some enjoyment. It is highly recommended to put some emphasis on the onomatopoeia sprinkled throughout the story. The illustrations are simple and fun and may extend a storytime with opportunities to seek and find objects throughout the book.

A quick, cute read, best for fidgety little readers .(Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-926890-16-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tradewind Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

WE ARE MUSIC

The history of music is a big topic, and more-nuanced explanation is needed than the format allows.

This ambitious board book aims to promote an eclectic appreciation for music of all kinds.

Music, from drumming to computer-generated sound, is introduced as a linear historical sequence with two pages devoted to each of 11 styles, including medieval European, orchestral, blues, and more. Most of the musicians are portrayed as children, many with darker skin tones and with hairstyles and garb commonly associated with each type of music. Radford works in a retro cartoon mode, varying his presentation slightly with each new musical style but including a dancing dachshund on almost every spread, presumably to enhance child appeal. Unfortunately, the book just can’t succeed in reducing such a wide range of musical styles to toddler-appropriate language. The first two spreads read: “We start with clapping, tapping, and drums. // Lutes, flutes, and words are what we become.” The accompanying illustrations show, respectively, half-naked drummers and European court figures reading, writing, and playing a flute. Both spreads feature both brown-skinned and pale-skinned figures. At first reading this seems innocent enough, but the implication that clapping and drumming are somehow less civilized or sophisticated than a European style is reinforced in Stosuy’s glossary of music terms. He describes “Prehistoric Music” as “rhythmic music [made] with rocks, sticks, bones, and…voices,” while “Renaissance Music” is defined as “multiple melodies played at the same time.”

The history of music is a big topic, and more-nuanced explanation is needed than the format allows. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0941-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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