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

FUTURE ASTRONAUT

From the Future Baby series

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 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A gentle underwater excursion.

OCEAN LIFE

From the Hello World! series

An ocean-themed entry in the Hello World series.

A white youngster with long hair sporting a swim mask encourages little ones to “Dive in and take a look!” at ocean life. Each double-page spread presents a different marine animal, including whales, dolphins, sharks, an octopus, a crab and a lobster, sea turtles, fish, and jellyfish. Two or three conversationally conveyed facts of interest are included per double-page spread, one of which is usually in a smaller type and marked with an asterisk for obscure reasons. “What’s that? It’s a sea horse? It can quickly change colors to blend with the background, helping it hide from enemies,” reads the larger text in one representative spread, while the text in the smaller font reads, “A sea horse father carries eggs in a pouch until they are ready to hatch.” A trio of children, all of whom have light complexions, build a sand castle on the beach and collect shells to highlight the wide variety of the latter that can be found. McDonald’s jewel-toned art has the look of watercolor and is appropriately watery and accessible. The final pages allow children to reflect on their favorite ocean animal as the art reviews all the creatures depicted.

A gentle underwater excursion. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-57877-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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With its companion, a vibrantly illustrated, expertly written offering for young animal lovers.

PETS

From the Hello World! series

Learn about domestic animals in the latest addition to McDonald’s Hello World! series.

Whether they are wild or domesticated, animals are fascinating creatures. In this cheery outing, McDonald introduces young readers to a variety of animals that live with humans, including rabbits, cats, frogs, and dogs. Companion title Arctic Animals, on the other hand, focuses on the wild and wonderful creatures that live in the world’s coldest, northernmost region, including polar bears, narwhals, snowy owls, and puffins. McDonald’s talent for curating relevant, fascinating, and child-friendly facts is fully on display in both of these volumes. Both books focus mostly on the physical characteristics of the animals and birds, pairing the descriptions with textured, collage-style illustrations that also enliven the type, particularly in cases of onomatopoeia. Arctic Animals simply and clearly introduces concepts like hibernation and camouflage while Pets provides a bit of specific information about how to care for the animals depicted. It also includes questions on each two-page spread that invite children to participate in the storytelling by moving their bodies like the pets they are reading about: Readers are asked to “twitch” their noses like rabbits, “stretch” like cats, and “hop” like frogs. Both books are excellent choices for budding naturalists, zookeepers, veterinarians, and pet owners.

With its companion, a vibrantly illustrated, expertly written offering for young animal lovers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64759-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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