From the Future Baby series

Inclusive characters and appealing illustrations make this a fun and factual trip to space.

This board book makes tongue-in-cheek comparisons between an astronaut’s special skill set and a growing baby’s.

“Ground control to Major Baby: / Could you be an astronaut?” As this board book lays out the parallels between an astronaut and a baby, the answer seems to be, “Yes!” Even though all of the comparisons aren’t exact, of course, they are adorable and sure to elicit a smile. The text “Astronauts need healthy hearts, good eyes, and strong teeth. / Baby’s heart and eyes and tooth are in tip-top shape” is accompanied by a picture of an astronaut of color and a white baby with one prominent tooth, each receiving a thorough checkup. Both have specialized swim gear, work in small spaces, and speak several languages—all jokes that older children and parents will enjoy. All of the children and astronauts are diverse: refreshingly neither majority white-presenting nor majority male-presenting. Black’s illustrations echo an animation aesthetic. The people have large eyes, the colors are bold, and the pages are uncluttered. Though babies aren’t quite ready to blast off and leave their families behind, the story ends with a lovely picture of a sleeping baby dreaming of the “journey ahead.” The last two pages offer “Fun Facts” about astronauts that, while certainly interesting, are arguably appropriate only for readers outside the book’s target audience.

Inclusive characters and appealing illustrations make this a fun and factual trip to space. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31222-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019


From the Future Baby series

A book about engineering notable mostly for its illustrations of diverse characters. (Board book. 1-3)

Babies and engineers have more in common than you think.

In this book, Alexander highlights the unlikely similarities between babies and engineers. Like engineers, babies ask questions, enjoy building, and learn from their mistakes. Black’s bold, colorful illustrations feature diverse babies and both male- and female-presenting adult characters with a variety of skin tones and hair colors, effectively demonstrating that engineers can be any race or either gender. (Nonbinary models are a little harder to see.) The story ends with a reassurance to the babies in the book that “We believe in you!” presumably implying that any child can be an engineer. The end pages include facts about different kinds of engineers and the basic process used by all engineers in their work. Although the book opens with a rhythmic rhyming couplet, the remaining text lacks the same structure and pattern, making it less entertaining to read. Furthermore, while some of the comparisons between babies and engineers are both clever and apt, others—such as the idea that babies know where to look for answers—are flimsier. The book ends with a text-heavy spread of facts about engineering that, bereft of illustrations, may not hold children’s attention as well as the previous pages. Despite these flaws, on its best pages, the book is visually stimulating, witty, and thoughtful.

A book about engineering notable mostly for its illustrations of diverse characters. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31223-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019


A fun, new take on droppings.

Youngsters can learn about where and how various animals, domestic and wild, relieve themselves.

Via a pull-tab embedded in each recto (not, thankfully, in the rectum) readers can see the before and after, and a goldfish in a bowl leaves a trail while swimming. The verso asks each creature where it does its business, and then a (sometimes-forced) rhyming quatrain, translated from Italian, answers the question: “And where do YOU poop, mouse? / When inside my tummy / Starts to feel not so good / It’s time for a poop / On these chips made of wood!” The final double-page spread queries readers: “And where do YOU poop?” A redheaded, White toddler’s face is visible below this question; the pull-tab on the right opens a bathroom to reveal a White toddler, this time with medium brown hair, happily and modestly sitting on a blue toddler potty. The accompanying quatrain provides some developmentally appropriate guidance for feeling the signs of a movement coming on. Baruzzi’s art is droll and graphically clean (inasmuch as the depiction of excrement can be described that way). Little fingers may need some help finding the relatively easy-to-open and sturdy pull-tabs, since they blend into each page. It works as both a biology lesson and potty-training encouragement.  

A fun, new take on droppings. (Novelty board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66265-042-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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