This is fine for a baby shower but unsuitable for institutional settings, where the full-size versions would be a better...

READ REVIEW

MY FIRST BOXED SET

Four mini board books packaged in a box with four peek-through windows are actually just smaller reprints of individual titles in the My First series, originally published in 2015.

Shapes, counting, colors, and words are introduced with just five page turns in these 3-inch-square books. The spreads are uncluttered, most with just one image per page. In My First 123, a numeral and a corresponding number of foil dots occupy the verso, while objects to count are arranged on the recto. With just five spreads, the count ends with 5. My First Shapes follows the same format. A decorative star and heart are included instead of the more-common rectangle or oval. My First Colors includes most of the eight basic crayon colors but substitutes pink for black. The final spread repeats all eight colors. The choice of 10 words included in My First Words seems arbitrary: sun, car, ball, dog, cake, boat, cup, bird, bee, flower. Why not moon? cat? truck? All the images in these tiny volumes are reduced to their essences with bright graphics, patterns, and foil highlights.

This is fine for a baby shower but unsuitable for institutional settings, where the full-size versions would be a better value. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0327-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

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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 bright and friendly but no more than serviceable board book.

MY FIRST PEEK-A-BOO ANIMALS

From the World of Eric Carle series

Little readers play peekaboo with animals.

Carle’s iconic illustrations form the centerpiece of this simple lift-the-flap board book. Each double-page spread features an animal obscured by a flap (a solid block of trademark, textured Carle color) on one side and a four-line abcb stanza describing the animal on the opposite page. Readers are given hints about the hidden creature before they play peekaboo and lift the flap to reveal a monkey, horse, turtle, and more. “I’m a big cat, / but I don’t purr. / I’ve got black stripes / and bright orange fur.” Although most of the facts offered are scientifically valid, the ambiguously worded modifier for the monkey’s clue—“With my long tail, / I swing in the trees”—risks imparting the misinformation that monkeys suspend themselves from their tails. Carle’s illustrations are as recognizable to little readers as the characters on Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and the familiarity breeds appreciation. There’s nothing truly special or distinctive regarding the mechanics of this particular title, but the familiar look acts as a comfort food–esque motivation to get little ones’ attention.

A bright and friendly but no more than serviceable board book. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0105-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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