A cute infant-scientist offering that’s better tuned to its audience than many of its ilk.

BABY ASTRONAUT

From the Baby Scientist series

Toddlers learn about some of the aspects of being an astronaut.

Dressed in a jaunty red spacesuit and sporting two cute ponytails on either side of her round face, Baby Astronaut is ready for liftoff. Accompanying her on the space shuttle is a little owl. Once in space Baby Astronaut can see the moon, stars, Mars, Venus, and Earth. She also conducts some experiments: “Can plants grow in space? Yes! / Can ants live in space? Yes!” Young readers are also introduced to the concept of gravity at a very simple level. In companion title Baby Oceanographer, a baby with just a wisp of a brown curl dons a wetsuit and flippers to explore the ocean. This baby’s sidekick is a very expressive little red crab. Once in the ocean, Baby encounters a dolphin, an octopus, other marine life, and even a volcano. Readers are also introduced to waves and salinity: “Baby Oceanographer tests ocean water and fresh water. / Ocean water has salt. Fresh water has no salt.” Baby Astronaut has olive skin and black hair, and Baby Oceanographer presents white. The concepts in both books are presented simply, and the illustrations are uncluttered and engaging; such details as a mohawked comet and a yellow submersible add humor.

A cute infant-scientist offering that’s better tuned to its audience than many of its ilk. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-284134-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed.

LITTLE SEED

A LIFE

The life story of a seed is set in a biblical context.

Readers are introduced on the first page to Little Seed, who will serve as the uninspiring and often hard-to-spot main character of this tale. It floats to the ground and is buried in the soil until winter arrives and the earth freezes. Lest readers worry about Little Seed at this point, they are offered the startling—for no religious or spiritual context has been thus far established—reassurance that “God gave Little Seed everything it needed. Its hard coat protected it. Little Seed was safe.” When spring comes, Little Seed’s softened shell splits open, and a sprout and roots begin to grow. At this point, the illustrations present several small seedlings, making it impossible to even identify Little Seed. When summer rolls around, Little Seed has become a sunflower that must reproduce in fall to fulfill its destiny. The final page spread attempts to tie everything together by offering a quotation referencing gardens and seeds from Isaiah 61:11. The illustrations, an unusual mixture of realism and impressionism, are plagued by inconsistencies. The permanent fixtures of Little Seed’s background, for example, seem to change from season to season, though presumably it remains rooted in the same spot.

Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9854090-7-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Graham Blanchard

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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EGG

A graciously illustrated rhyming ode to eggs.

Wrapped in its own firm shell, this compact board book has a solid padded cover and opens onto stiff, matte cardboard pages. Creamy white backgrounds highlight each page’s avian-related vignette, ranging from a greenish-gold “shiny egg” to a “dotted egg” with an elaborately lined, blue iridescent feather nestled in front. Though each page features an accurately drawn egg, there’s enough variation among the depictions—a large tropical flower overhanging a tiny vervain hummingbird egg; a chickadee incubating her eggs; a silly but “sweet” foil-wrapped chocolate egg—that the content feels fresh. Ink drawings in subdued colors are fine and delicate, clearly conveying the subtle differences among each bird species, and eggs and nests manage to look both fragile and solid. Related in two-word rhyming couplets consisting of one descriptor word followed by “egg,” the text achieves a smooth, catchy sound. A useful illustrated key at the back identifies the eggs, though some, like a “sea egg” identified as a great blue heron’s or those of less-familiar birds, such as the cassowary, beg for more context or even a picture of the bird itself. A tall, thin typeset keeps the focus on the lovely eggshells but is hard to read from a distance; sharp corners on the board pages make this case-bound board book unsuitable for the youngest listeners.

Egg-quisite . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-56846-351-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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