Given the plethora of similar titles, rate this an O for overdone and opt for a better one, such as Ramon Olivera’s ABCs on...

DIG DIG DIGGING ABC

Kids seem to have an innate fascination with machinery, and this alphabet of vehicles will challenge them to name 26 and pair them with their corresponding letters of the alphabet.

In concept, this is nothing new, but it’s Ayliffe’s execution that makes this one stand out—but not necessarily in a great way. Intensely saturated colors bleed off the pages, overpowering the simple shapes that lack line definitions and featureless faces (just dots for eyes). From “Ambulance,” “Bulldozer,” and “Crane” to “Yacht” and “Zooming Rocket,” the text glossing each moving vehicle emphasizes activities or signature sounds and is typeset in ever larger fonts to lift the excitement. J is for “Jumbo Jet / Enormous jumbo jet / roar, roar, roaring. / Over fields and buildings, / up…upsoaring!” Exemplars that are out of the ordinary include “Narrow Boat” (revealed in the illustration to be a British canal boat), “Quad Bike” (which many American readers will recognize as an ATV), and “Velodrome Track Bike”; X stands for the “EXtra Big Wheels” of a monster truck. San-serif lower- and uppercases are highlighted in the upper corners. There are a few double-page spreads, but most letters have one page with no segues between them. Kids familiar with themed alphabet books and enraptured with toy vehicles will enjoy repeating the sound effects and guessing what vehicle comes next despite the misleading cover that hints that all of the machines dig.

Given the plethora of similar titles, rate this an O for overdone and opt for a better one, such as Ramon Olivera’s ABCs on Wheels (2016). (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-516-6

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more