The series continues to engage and inform, though readers may wonder if Berkes knows any other tunes: This is one...

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OVER ON A DESERT

SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD

Berkes’ habitat series continues with this “Over in the Meadow” song about desert animals.

Using her proven formula, Berkes introduces readers to 10 desert animals (nine mothers and one father), what the babies are called, and one activity that the species engages in. “Over on a desert / Where the barrel cactus grew / Lived a mother gila monster / And her little hatchlings two. / ‘Flick,’ said the mother. / ‘We flick,’ said the two. / So they flicked with their tongues / Where the barrel cactus grew.” Clean page designs place the text on a vertical half-page along with a map with the desert highlighted and labeled (nine are featured: two in Asia, four in North America, two in Africa, and one each in Australia and South America) and the prominent numeral. The rest of the double-page spread displays the family group. The textured papers in Dubin’s collages give life to the animals and their surroundings. Other species include camels, meerkats, dingoes, armadillos, javelinas, desert tortoises, jerboas, roadrunners, and fennec foxes. Backmatter includes a “Fact or Fiction” section, details about both the featured animals and a hidden animal found in each scene, and suggestions for movements/activities to go with the song.

The series continues to engage and inform, though readers may wonder if Berkes knows any other tunes: This is one long-lasting ear worm. (author’s, illustrator’s, book designer’s notes; sheet music; bibliography) (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58469-630-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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

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