A winning mix of illuminating facts and charming artwork—this book definitely isn’t for the birds.

ODD BIRDS

MEET NATURE'S WEIRDEST FLOCK

Who doesn’t want to take flight and soar sometimes?

Young ornithologist wannabes or children simply dreaming about taking to the skies would do well to cast their eyes on this thought-provoking, dazzlingly colored little book filled with some examples of wonderful birds with rather unusual physical characteristics and narrated in punchy, rhythmic verse. Readers/listeners will pick up facts about some fascinating avians that possess weird attributes, such as blue feet, baldness, enormous beaks, oversized red pouches, and imperviousness to high temperatures. Here’s a tidbit that will really make kids sit up and take notice: The hoatzin smells like poop! In the end, though, the text confronts kids with a fact that will truly give them pause: Since humans don’t have beaks or feathers, maybe birds think that we're the odd ones. No surprise, then, that on the cover, a bird with mesmerizingly huge round eyes stares directly out at readers—unwinged us—in wonder. Set against stylized backgrounds, the boldly hued illustrations depict the birds realistically in terms of color, shape, and characteristic. Notably for a board book, there’s factual backmatter here: a small color photograph of each bird named in the text along with interesting facts about each one and an explanation of the odd feature mentioned in the book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A winning mix of illuminating facts and charming artwork—this book definitely isn’t for the birds. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4223-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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There’s charm in this picture book, but it’s a bit of a wash.

LITTLE GENIUS WEATHER

A rhyming introduction to a variety of weather phenomena.

“So how about that weather?” A ubiquitous small-talk topic gets the board-book treatment in this cheerful informational text. Enthusiastic, colorful illustrations are a highlight, and beaming, anthropomorphic kawaii-style weather formations are eye-grabbers. Who doesn’t love a grinning rainbow? Children with various skin tones pictured throughout the book are equally pleasant and include a wheelchair user. If the book is agreeable to look at, it's less so to listen to. The oft-stilted rhymes aren't intuitive, and clunkers like “when a cloud gets dark and heavy with rain it's called a cumulonimbus which is such a funny name” take a few tries to get right when read aloud. Adding insult to injury, the line breaks are sometimes jarring, making the rhyme even more daunting. Most of the main sections contain appropriately digestible bits of introductory information conveyed in a bubbly, enthusiastic tone, with snow described vividly as “raindrops that freeze into crystals.” However, sometimes there is a mismatch between the text and its intended audience. Some topics—seasons, clouds, rain—with their easily visible and experiential elements, seem perfectly suited for toddlers; others, like humidity and hurricanes, are more of a stretch. A “Fun Fact” section discussing matters such as the Earth’s axis and climatology versus meteorology is more appropriate for early-elementary learners. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

There’s charm in this picture book, but it’s a bit of a wash. (Informational board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-953344-47-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Genius Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere.

HELLO, DINOSAURS!

From the Animal Facts and Flaps series

Colorful, fun, and informative guide for pint-sized dinosaur enthusiasts.

Kid-friendly and more informative than most dino books for tots, this lift-the-flap dinosaur book is a great next step for any kid with an interest in the subject. Each double-page panorama—occasionally folding out to three or even four pages wide—is organized around types of dinosaurs or habitats. While most featured dinosaurs are land dwellers, prehistoric reptiles of the sea and sky appear as well. Dinosaurs are rendered in bright colors on a white background in a childlike style that makes even Tyrannosaurus rex not too terrifying. Make no mistake, though; the king of the dinosaurs is clearly labeled “CARNIVORE.” Folding T. rex’s head back reveals a black-and-white handsaw, to which the text likens its enormous, sharp teeth. Another marginal illustration, captioned, “Watch out! T. rex is looking for its lunch,” shows a Triceratops specimen on a plate. Yet another reads, “Crushed dinosaur bones have been found in T. rex poop!” Several racially diverse kids appear in each scene, like toddler scientists variously observing, inspecting, and riding on the dinosaurs depicted. In addition to teaching the difference between herbivores and carnivores, the book also conveys a sense of the scale of these prehistoric beasts: Diplodocus is two school buses long, a Triceratops adult is the size of an elephant, and a Velociraptor is the size of a turkey, for example.

Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0809-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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