No dissent here—this is a solid introduction to a beloved feminist icon.


From the Who Was? Board Books series

A child-friendly retrospective of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and legacy.

While a life as meaningful as Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s cannot possibly fit in a board book, this admirably distills her story and achievements into the most accessible form possible. Yes, the text is lengthy for the format, and conceptually, some topics are above the comprehension of the targeted audience, but the message that defined Ginsburg’s career, that a girl is “just as important as a boy,” shines clear. Starting with Ruth’s origins as a young Jewish girl, the text follows her as she becomes a lawyer and parent, discusses a smattering of her glass-ceiling–shattering jobs and legal rulings, before ending with her on the Supreme Court. Though the unvarnished language reads like early-reader text, the austere words convey a certain poignancy. The companion text on Martin Luther King Jr. is warm and welcoming but too often relies on generic statements about his “big, strong heart” while his civil right accomplishments remain implied rather than clearly stated. In a nod to the intended listeners, Dr. King’s assassination goes unmentioned. In each, a concluding biographical paragraph with a photograph is largely rehash. The flat, angular, caricature-style art is stylish but borders on lifeless. The cast in the Ginsburg book defaults to mostly White characters while, unsurprisingly, that of the King title defaults African American.

No dissent here—this is a solid introduction to a beloved feminist icon. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22274-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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A mismatch in every way.



From the This Little series

An introduction to 10 scientists for the youngest readers.

Each historical or modern figure is featured on their own double-page spread, which includes a close-up portrait and rhyming couplets on the verso, and the facing page features the scientist in action and a caption of a sentence or two offering more information about their work but often written at a level far beyond the board-book audience’s developmental capacity. The usual suspects are here, including Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, but women and scientists of color can also be found, such as naturalist and painter Maria Sibylla Merian and particle physicist Sau Lan Wu. The verse is strained, forced, and often doesn’t scan (for Katherine Johnson: “This little scientist got the math right / to help NASA astronauts launch outer space flight”). In an evident attempt to be cute, the phrase “This little scientist…” introduces the figures and has the effect of demeaning the women, people of color, and people with disabilities depicted. The art, like others in the This Little series, features bobbleheaded caricatures of each figure in bold colors. The final two pages present 17 additional scientists in portraiture from throughout history and around the world and a brief caption, with a blank space left open for “You!”

A mismatch in every way. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0108-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A ferociously entertaining blend of wonder, thrills, and science.


From the Zoom series

Young explorers risk prehistoric perils and cataclysmic destruction to learn about the dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous.

Best friends Jasmine (who has brown skin and wears dark hair in a braid) and Jamie (who presents White and has a thatch of brown hair) set their time machine for the days of the dinosaurs, go exploring, and make it home in time for dinner. This well-constructed board book is both visually engaging and as rich in information as it is in adventure. It features 17 different two-page set pieces, 24 distinctly labeled prehistoric creatures, creative die cuts offering tantalizing peeks at what lies beyond each turn of the page, and a spectacular pop-up of the asteroid that caused the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. The adventurers journey through or over habitats ranging from jungles, swamps, deserts, plains, and oceans and fly through the air and dive in the sea with the help of a friendly pterosaur and elasmosaurus, respectively. The featured creatures are all Age-appropriate, as is the asteroid. The two friends are cool and cavalier about tracking T. rex and chasing Velociraptor. Caregivers might want to caution their charges that, if or when they get their time machines working, they should exercise appropriate caution when approaching powerful, carnivorous eating machines. Companion volume Rainforest Adventure stars a light-brown–skinned girl named Lin and is a similarly engaging and informative trek down the Amazon and, once again, home by dinner. Both offer inspiration for inquisitive young adventurers everywhere.

A ferociously entertaining blend of wonder, thrills, and science. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-912920-46-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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This Little is both too little and too early to do justice to these important lives.



From the This Little series

A board-book introduction to 10 workers for social justice.

The first double-page spread shows the five men and five women to be featured. Subsequent spreads include a close-up portrait and four-line verse opposite an illustration meant to demonstrate each inspirational figure’s work. A two- or three-line caption reduces the complex work of people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to vague platitudes. “Mahatma Gandhi led the people of India to freedom from being ruled by Great Britain” is woefully inadequate. Even so, the concept is still far beyond the board-book audience’s understanding. How to communicate to toddlers the work of Henry Bergh, ASPCA founder, or Dr. Jim Yong Kim, 12th chair of the World Bank? (Answer: He “works to help poor countries succeed.”) Dolores Huerta was chosen to represent the United Farm Workers, but including Cesar Chavez in her caption diminishes her role. Brief bios and portraits of 17 additional activists and a blank space labeled “You!” under the headline “Kindness, sharing, speaking out, fair play— / what could you do to help others someday?” complete the book. The bobblehead art, similar to other books in the This Little series, sometimes borders on offensive caricature.

This Little is both too little and too early to do justice to these important lives. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4291-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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