Absolutely not the way to introduce very small children to this artist’s work



From the Mini Museum series

Surreal imagery is paired to narrative text that prompts readers to interpret it.

This board book challenges readers from the outset by demanding a 90-degree rotation so that the pages turn from bottom to top. In the first double-page spread, readers see parrots flying around what appears to be mauve palm fronds silhouetted against a pink circle. The text is baffling: “I see a person tumbling away! / What do you see?” Readers who squint will discern, above the palm fronds and parrots, the faint image of what appears to be a white woman in a bathing suit tumbling forward. But they will have to squint hard. Subsequent spreads vary in their visual coherence. Readers will probably see the “hummingbird landing gingerly,” but a visual jumble of tendrils that the narrative describes as “triangles falling to the ground” will take quite a lot of staring at to parse. The open-ended “What do you see” that appears on each spread taunts its infant-and-toddler audience to make sense of the developmentally inappropriate visual and conceptual images. A rope resolves into a snake; dark-pink blossoms fade into a mottled pink and purple background. The final image pulls back to present the previous images as details from Le Noble Savage, a monumental 2006 work by Kenyan-American artist Mutu glossed as “a woman standing powerful and strong”; readers will likely interpret the figure as a woman, but the placement of a dark shape where her nose should be makes her face look distressingly like a skull.

Absolutely not the way to introduce very small children to this artist’s work . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9970587-0-3

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Home Grown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

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A happily multisensory exploration.


From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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A lovely, simple lift-the-flap book that will stand the test of many a mighty tot.


Little ones learn about bugs.

The world of insects and like small creatures is the focus of this sturdy board book. Each turn of the page gives readers a close view of a particular habitat. The text asks, “Where’s the ladybug?” or “Where’s the snail?” and little ones are encouraged to find the creatures under shaped felt flaps. A caterpillar poses under a leaf with a few bites taken out of it; a bumblebee flies behind a pink tulip. The flaps are made of a reasonably strong material, secured tightly within the book’s pages. Extremely determined readers may figure out a way to pull the flaps out, but most will enjoy flipping them up and over with ease. The last page of the book contains a mirror hidden behind a bush-shaped flap, and readers are asked “And where are you?” The insects smile with big eyes and are composed of large, circular, clean-edged shapes. The color palette is dulled, making the neon flaps pop effectively for little readers. Concurrently publishing companion Where’s the Giraffe? explores the world of jungle animals.

A lovely, simple lift-the-flap book that will stand the test of many a mighty tot. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9335-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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