A disappointing twist on a popular theme. More gimmick than engaging.

NOISY DIGGER

From the I Can Learn! series

This noisy board book is designed to thrill tots fascinated with all things construction.

A tactile backhoe digger is center stage on each of the five cutout pages, complete with flaps. Brief rhyming text describes the machine’s actions as it works throughout the day. Animal characters engaged in manual labor or operating other machinery—a bulldozer, crane, road roller, and dump truck—describe more work that goes on at a construction site in small speech bubbles. Finding the mouse in every scene adds to the fun. On each page, a little bird sporting a hard hat invites young builders to press various parts of the silicone digger to activate a range of distinct sounds. The digger’s track pad sounds different from the sound of its arm moving dirt. The problem is that the digger itself is passive; the track pad and arm don’t actually move. The machine stays in the same place on every spread. The caution light beeps but doesn’t light up. Savvy kids will quickly realize that all the sounds are accessible from the first spread without having to turn the pages. The sound is the most engaging part of the book, but with only five sounds, this feature won’t hold most youngsters’ attention for long.

A disappointing twist on a popular theme. More gimmick than engaging. (Novelty board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-684-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors.

BABY'S FIRST BOOK OF BIRDS & COLORS

Gorgeous birds amid foliage of similar hues introduce eight basic colors.

The two birds presented on each spread not only are of similar coloration, but also live in the same North American habitat. A scarlet tanager and a cardinal, both male, perch in a red maple tree; a male Eastern bluebird and a blue jay appear with morning glories and blueberries. The name of each color is printed in large font, while the name of each bird is in a much smaller one. Whether the bird shown is male or female, or if the male and female have similar coloring, is also indicated. The names of the trees they perch upon are identified in a note on the back cover. These details will be lost on most toddlers, but caregivers will appreciate being able to answer questions knowledgeably. Colors featured are from the standard box of crayons, except that pink is substituted for purple. Black and white share a spread. The cover image, of a cardinal, goldfinch, and bluebird in a birdbath, is not nearly as inviting as the images within. The final spread shows children (one white, one black, one Asian) assembling a puzzle that includes the same birds. This may serve as a reprise but will probably be skipped over. Bird-loving readers will probably feel that the space could have been put to better use by giving white birds their own page or adding a purple martin.

Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-742-6

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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100 FIRST WORDS

The titular words are divided by topic with animals participating along the way.

This board book reads exactly as expected. Common “first words” are organized into thematic sections like “toys and games,” “at the park,” and “things that go.” Wide-eyed animals are shown riding on a bus, using the potty, and talking on a cellphone (labeled telephone). All of the scenes and words are fairly predictable, making it familiar to toddlers but not necessarily exposing them to new vocabulary unless this is truly the first of its ilk they are reading. The “parts of the body” pages use three monkeys to demonstrate those parts, omitting tail, ears, and facial features. The choice of monkey rather than human models is an odd one, since this book is meant for very young learners just beginning to name and identify these parts of their own bodies. The “things that go” spread is the most visually interesting—possibly overstimulating for younger readers. There is plenty for caregivers to talk about with children here, in contrast to the bare-bones “clothes” spread, for example. The illustrations are cutesy and two-dimensional. This makes the pictures easy to identify, but it also means they lack detail and complexity. Sturdy and sized for small hands, this book does indeed present 100 words but offers little to make it stand out among the many other similar titles already on shelves.

Does the job. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-687-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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