Despite the occasionally ambiguous text, a good, strikingly illustrated conversation starter about animals, their habitats,...

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THE SAFARI SET

From the Mibo series

Come for a safari and explore five common animals of Africa’s savanna: lion, giraffe, elephant, hippopotamus, and zebra.

Each animal is featured on two double-page spreads in this informational board book, and the rhyming text, mostly one sentence per page, gives toddler-appropriate facts about that animal, though they are occasionally a little ambiguous. “Elephants are really smart, / with a super sense of smell. // They like to care for relatives / when they’re not feeling well.” The first page gives an introduction to the characteristics of the habitat, but the word “savanna” is not included in the book, and the only mention of Africa, where these animals live, is on the last page. The last page has one fun fact about each animal (“Each zebra’s stripes are slightly different, just like our fingerprints,” although all five zebras on another page look dramatically similarly striped) and a brief environmental plea to work together to help preserve habitat. Illustrations are colorful, bold, and geometric and really carry the book. The only child in the book is a brown-skinned, dark-haired child standing with the giraffe. The other two books in the series are similar. The Jungle Crew is set in the rainforest (that word appearing only on the last page); The Polar Pack includes both North and South Polar regions, and apart from the polar bear, does not specify in which polar region the penguin, walrus, reindeer, and snowy owl are found.

Despite the occasionally ambiguous text, a good, strikingly illustrated conversation starter about animals, their habitats, and our part in protecting these environments. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-908985-83-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Button Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design.

MRS. PEANUCKLE'S BUG ALPHABET

From the Mrs. Peanuckle's Alphabet Library series , Vol. 4

From Ant to Zorapteran, each page presents a variety of insects, both commonplace and obscure.

Narrator Mrs. Peanuckle, who enjoys sharing her likes and dislikes and writing about herself in the third person, has penned one to two sentences of quirky description and interesting facts for each insect representing a different letter of the alphabet: “L is for Ladybug / The loveliest of insects. They help Mrs. Peanuckle by eating the bugs on her roses!” The text often takes up most of the page and employs a different typeface per word, thus making the pages difficult to scan—often the featured letter of the alphabet merges with the name of the insect (“Inchworm” looks as though it has two I’s, for example). Ford’s lively insects skitter around the words in luminescent color; as with any effective insect book, there’s just enough detail to provoke interest without an ick-response. The companion book, Mrs. Peanuckle’s Flower Alphabet, presents blooms from Aster to Zinnia, with the same formula but with a more winsome approach to the art; here many of the flowers sport smiling faces in the same bold color palette.

Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62336-939-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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