A vicarious walk in the woods probably best suited to those with direct experience of a forest hike.

READ REVIEW

FOREST BABY

A mom takes her toddler, bundled into a baby backpack, on a walk through the woods.

The text, though lyrical, lacks immediacy. Written in a second-person present tense, it nevertheless comes across as relating what has been seen rather than what is being seen right then. Robinson depicts the pair, changing perspective with each page in a way that is artful but also disorienting to a toddler audience. The pair “reach to leafy maples with winged seeds” and “bend to a painted turtle stretching in the sun.” Another illustration shows the baby’s chubby fingers disturbing a school of minnows. (Exactly how this is accomplished from the confines of a baby backpack is unclear.) When Elmquist describes a dragonfly as a “jewel of blue and green,” both the perspective and palette change, with the dragonfly shown large and mother and baby smaller on a distant path. The woods disappear completely on the second-to-last spread when baby is shown flying in mama’s hands against a bright blue sky alongside 11 (count them) orange butterflies. The pairs’ ethnicities are undefined. The smiling, alert child in a bright yellow shirt and purple knit hat has light skin, while mama is a pony-tailed brunette with slightly darker skin. What is clear is that they are both enjoying a magical encounter with nature.

A vicarious walk in the woods probably best suited to those with direct experience of a forest hike. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1333-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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This will have readers putting on their dancing shoes to do the “cha cha cha” with their dino-babies

DINOSAUR DANCE!

It's not the first time dinosaurs have been featured in a clever Boynton board book. It seems she—and we—can't get enough.

As her fans know, Boynton has a sly wit that respects the intelligence of her young fans and amuses the adults asked to “read it again.” In this book she introduces nine dinosaurs, each of which dances in a way that seems totally appropriate for that particular species. “The blue Stegosaurus goes SHIMMY SHIMMY SHAKE. / The red Brontosaurus goes QUIVERY QUAKE.” Drawing on her experience as a children’s musician, she writes a text that trips along like a song with rhymes that make sense but don't intrude. The illustrations, typical Boynton, reflect her greeting-card background. They are cartoonish but manage to capture the unique personality of each creature. The unnamed dinosaur narrator looks genuinely distraught at not being able to name the “tiny little dino” that “goes DEEDLY DEE.” Spoiler alert: the tiny little dinosaur is probably Compsognathus and would be about the size of a small chicken. Young dinophiles would be impressed if the dinosaurologists in their lives could supply that factoid, but alas, they will have to look it up.

This will have readers putting on their dancing shoes to do the “cha cha cha” with their dino-babies . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8099-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe.

MEET BABY SHARK

Little ones meet Baby Shark’s extended family and friends in this board-book version of the viral online Pinkfong video.

Sensibly, this offering does not attempt to replicate the song, since readers have likely viewed it multiple times if the 3.5 billion views (and counting) are any indication. Each line of this version is shared on a double-page spread featuring a character: Baby Shark, the rest of the Shark family (Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and Grandpa), and a couple of critters not mentioned in the song (Baby Turtle, a terrified fish named William, and Pinkfong, the brand’s fox logo). The primary text will be meaningful only to readers familiar with the song: “GRANDPA SHARK DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO.” A few words about each character and how they relate to Baby Shark accompany their appearance: “Grandpa Shark is wise and smart. He enjoys sharing his cooking skills with Baby Shark.” Rounded tabs at the top and the right margin of the book allow little fingers to easily turn the pages and readily access their favorite spreads. The two-dimensional gum ball–colored art is true to the source, and fans will not be disappointed. While Mommy and Daddy are color-coded in pink and blue, respectively and stereotypically, the rest of the creatures featured are not assigned colors based on gender.

Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-296589-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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