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

READ REVIEW

SHAPES ALL AROUND

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 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good.

SHAPE UP, CONSTRUCTION TRUCKS!

Storytime gets a kick in the pants with this jaunty combo of shapes and vehicles.

In this look at basic geometry via high-resolution photographs of construction trucks, the youngest of readers are introduced to nine different shapes. Using a seek-and-find format, the book encourages them to locate each shape as it appears on a vehicle, clearly delineated with thick, colorful lines. A clear, red triangle decorates the bed of a dump truck; a blue oval surrounds the barrel of a concrete mixer. The rhyming text names the featured equipment, each shot with crystal clarity outdoors on a variety of beautiful days. From the jaunty little red forklift sporting a rectangle on its side to the rhombus of a road sign snapped at an angle, small fingers will have no difficulty tracing each of the featured shapes again and again. Similar in its cadences to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle (1967), this book is ideal for construction storytimes everywhere. “Road roller / Road roller / Coming through! / I spy a circle— / How about you?” Be sure to sing it to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” if you really want to bring down the house. Activities to further engage young children are included at the end of the book.

Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77278-134-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A gentle underwater excursion.

OCEAN LIFE

From the Hello World! series

An ocean-themed entry in the Hello World series.

A white youngster with long hair sporting a swim mask encourages little ones to “Dive in and take a look!” at ocean life. Each double-page spread presents a different marine animal, including whales, dolphins, sharks, an octopus, a crab and a lobster, sea turtles, fish, and jellyfish. Two or three conversationally conveyed facts of interest are included per double-page spread, one of which is usually in a smaller type and marked with an asterisk for obscure reasons. “What’s that? It’s a sea horse? It can quickly change colors to blend with the background, helping it hide from enemies,” reads the larger text in one representative spread, while the text in the smaller font reads, “A sea horse father carries eggs in a pouch until they are ready to hatch.” A trio of children, all of whom have light complexions, build a sand castle on the beach and collect shells to highlight the wide variety of the latter that can be found. McDonald’s jewel-toned art has the look of watercolor and is appropriately watery and accessible. The final pages allow children to reflect on their favorite ocean animal as the art reviews all the creatures depicted.

A gentle underwater excursion. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-57877-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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