Another cute book of animal facts—but far from a must-have.


From the Touch and Explore series

This board book is a tactile, factoid-filled visit with various jungle animals.

Mazas’ animal facts are paired with Roy’s clean and inviting illustrations. Some featured animals, such as the iguana, are given full two-page layouts with multiple illustrations and an up-close image while other pages include multiple animals and facts shared together. There is no apparent pattern to how the animals are featured or why some receive a more in-depth treatment. Despite this, young readers will get a kick out of the information included, especially the note about sloth toilet habits. Some of the up-close images incorporate both an inset texture to feel and labeled body parts. These are the most interesting illustrations in the book even though the tactile components don’t add much informational value. The boa constrictor works well with its touchable, bumpy scales. Overall, the book suffers from a lack of clear direction: Is it an organized, up-close look at jungle animals? A picture dictionary of assorted animals, as the last two pages featuring seven animals and a few textures suggest? A lift-the-flap book (there’s only one)? The muddiness means an unclear readership. The touch-and-feel aspect points to younger readers, but the content hits a little older. Overall, the book has high appeal for animal lovers who get a kick out of related details.

Another cute book of animal facts—but far from a must-have. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40801-284-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Genial starter nonfiction.


From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this.


From “Apple” to “Zebra,” an alphabet of images drawn from museum paintings.

In an exhibition that recalls similar, if less parochial, ABCs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (My First ABC, 2009) and several other institutions, Hahn presents a Eurocentric selection of paintings or details to illustrate for each letter a common item or animal—all printed with reasonable clarity and captioned with identifying names, titles, and dates. She then proceeds to saddle each with an inane question (“What sounds do you think this cat is making?” “Where can you find ice?”) and a clumsily written couplet that unnecessarily repeats the artist’s name: “Flowers are plants that blossom and bloom. / Frédéric Bazille painted them filling up this room!” She also sometimes contradicts the visuals, claiming that the horses in a Franz Marc painting entitled “Two Horses, 1912” are ponies, apparently to populate the P page. Moreover, her “X” is an actual X-ray of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard, showing that the artist repainted his subject’s face…interesting but not quite in keeping with the familiar subjects chosen for the other letters.

Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4938-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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