Let this be the first first-word book to pull from the shelf.

READ REVIEW

HENRY FINDS HIS WORD

Seeing that baby talk isn’t working as well as he’d like, Henry decides to find his first word. 

Inaugural-word picture books remain perennial favorites, and this one distinguishes itself by committing wholeheartedly to little Henry’s perspective. Clear pencil outlines, matte pastel colors, and flat forms and backgrounds cohere to offer the softly benign, limited viewpoint of a baby. Henry’s wide face and teeny eyes anchor the artwork, imparting emotion with economy, and children might enjoy articulating the feelings behind his mild expressions. Sympathetic narration further explores Henry’s (often funny) frustrations, pleasures and thought processes. “It would help if he knew what to look for. But Henry wasn’t sure what words looked like.” The words “big,” “fuzzy,” “prickly,” “long” and “short” follow, each appearing as the shapes and textures they denote. The puffy, woolly outlines of “fuzzy” look soft to the touch, and “long” stretches out along the top of a dachshund’s back. Henry pets a fuzzy bear, feels prickly grass, gazes up at the towering letters of “BIG.” Here’s exactly how a baby decodes and interprets the world around him, which can be a scary place when mama isn’t in sight! Suddenly seemingly alone, Henry’s first word bursts forth: “MAMA.” And from there, as all mothers know, it never stops.

Let this be the first first-word book to pull from the shelf. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3990-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A happily multisensory exploration.

NOISY FARM

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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