Spin the dial to identify a variety of animals in different habitats.
Each double-page spread displays eight critters that live in one of eight environs, such as the suburbs (dubbed here “neighborhood”), a farm, the desert, the Arctic, and more. A relatively sturdy spin dial is embedded on every other page so youngsters can rotate the wheel and match small, one-color graphic depictions to larger, full-color images of each creature in the picture. A white band at the bottom of each spread includes a label for the habitat, a couple of sentences of text, and the repeated invitation to spot all eight animals. Reese’s art is clear and colorful, allowing for easy identification by toddlers. While the book has a nonfiction angle, the artist has taken some playful liberties in these scenes. A crab nips a fish’s tail for a tow through the ocean scene, while an elephant cheekily sprays a hippo in the savanna tableau. Happily, however, there is no sign of either a penguin or an igloo in the Arctic habitat. Many youngsters may be confused by the flat perspective and scale of these illustrations; a toucan looks larger than a jaguar in the rain-forest setting, a bear looks smaller than a skunk on the forest spread, and several creatures appear dangerously close to their predators.
Though not a perfect offering, the “Spin & Spot” gimmick and animal-identification game will engage most toddlers. (Board book. 2-4)