Clear, simple, fun, and delightfully age-appropriate.

BABY PALEONTOLOGIST

From the Baby Scientist series

Science for toddlers and preschoolers done right.

The current obsession for STEM education, often prioritized over teaching critical-thinking skills and cultivating an awareness of those parts of the human experience that make life fulfilling, has spawned a whole genre of board books for children. This “get ’em while they’re young” approach has spawned some misfires, which often seem designed to please pushy parents trying to produce the next Einstein rather than to satisfy a young learner’s natural curiosity. This book neatly evades that trap. It’s delightful, with a logic and clarity in articulation; bright, colorful, and uncluttered artwork; and concerning a topic that’s a proven kid-pleaser: dinosaurs. Beginning with a few simple declarative sentences, the writing flows naturally toward ever more complex ideas in a way that never goes over young heads: “Who studies fossils? Baby Paleontologist does! / Every fossil tells a story. Fossils tell the stories of plants and animals that lived long ago.” Any caregiver who has ever been asked “why” over and over should appreciate the easy pace of presentation. “Baby has fun putting together puzzles. What did this dinosaur look like? Baby Paleontologist puts the bones together just like a puzzle.” Presenting new and potentially complicated ideas in a way a young audience can understand is a puzzle in itself; here, mercifully, the pieces fit easily and naturally together.

Clear, simple, fun, and delightfully age-appropriate. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-284135-3

Page Count: 22

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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More information than toddlers will sit still for; not enough for preschoolers who are outgrowing board books.

MY BODY

From the Hello World! series

An introduction to the body for the youngest readers.

It’s an endlessly fascinating topic, but here it is explained in wordy and needlessly exclamatory detail. On the opening spread three children play: One flies a kite, another plays hopscotch, and a third hangs upside down from a branch while the text explains that “your body can do so many things!” Basic facts about each body part are explained on subsequent spreads—more or less. A spread devoted to the belly button gives no hint to its original purpose. A busy park scene with all the characters and summary text that emphasizes the importance of “Lots of sleep, good food, and plenty of exercise” ends this compendium. McDonald’s attempts to be inclusive don’t quite succeed. A brown-skinned boy playing wheelchair basketball is used to explain arm joints, and there are several other children of color in the book. But on the page about hearing, the brown-skinned tot’s prominent ears and his placement in a tree make him look more like a monkey than a child—an unfortunate association. Many spreads include a question that relates to the topic but could also prove distracting. An additional fact on each spread set in a smaller font is clearly for older children or grown-ups, not toddlers.

More information than toddlers will sit still for; not enough for preschoolers who are outgrowing board books. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6636-8

Page Count: 27

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A helpful and practical read for big siblings–to-be.

HOW BIG IS BABY NOW?

Cocca-Leffler explains fetal growth by comparing the baby to various plants, animals, and objects, month by month.

Pregnant parents are well versed in comparisons between babies in utero and such measures as a watermelon and basketball, but this board book is geared toward older siblings–to-be. Featuring a cutout window effect, the book begins when Baby is three months. Growth is tracked by month to No. 9, each page featuring a growing silhouette of a pregnant belly and the question “How big is Baby now?” These silhouettes extend further and further into each successive die-cut window so that when the book is closed, there is a rainbow of pregnant bellies visible. Cocca-Leffler does a nice job of choosing items that are familiar to young children, like an egg, a cupcake, and a “jug of milk” (a one-gallon plastic bottle is depicted). Each spread includes several other comparison items, appearing as outline drawings around the page border. Unsurprisingly, the final page marks Baby’s arrival, declaring, “Hello, Baby!” with a simple illustration of a white-presenting sleeping newborn. The colors are bright and appealing, but there are no pictures that include the baby until the very end, which might make the comparisons a bit tough for children to visualize. That said, overall this book makes for a useful tool in helping caregivers explain a new baby’s growth to a young child.

A helpful and practical read for big siblings–to-be. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9145-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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