I LOVE CLASSICAL MUSIC

From the My First Sound series

This book will likely become a game of starting and stopping the musical clips, and for good reason: There’s not much else...

A musical board book features sound buttons that trigger clips of six classical songs.

The focus of this book is on listening to snippets (roughly 15 to 20 seconds long) from mostly well-known classical compositions. Each spread features one song and an accompanying illustration. The composer’s name and song title headline the text above a smaller line of interpretive text. The pages invite readers to interact by touching a button that activates the song. Some clips may be familiar even to younger readers, such as Mozart’s “The Turkish March,” while others, such as Paganini’s “The Campanella,” are likely to be new, for an overall nice balance. The illustrations—featuring animals and insects—are simple and relate to the song title, so Schubert’s “The Trout Quintet” depicts a trout jumping out of the water. Some of the directive text is inviting, asking readers to count ants, for example; elsewhere it’s simply descriptive. Neither the illustrations nor the text has enough depth or quality to bring much value to the book. Of note for adults: The book comes with an installed battery and an on-off switch, and the music can be started and stopped by touching the button on each page.

This book will likely become a game of starting and stopping the musical clips, and for good reason: There’s not much else to it. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-26721-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

LET'S PLAY BASEBALL

From the Let's Play series

While it is (mostly) an appropriately simple introduction to the sport, the lack of player diversity is discouraging, if not...

A baseball-shaped primer for the littlest sluggers.

Brimming with baseball facts, each round page presents heavily captioned photos and one or two sentences of declarative text. Baseball vocabulary abounds, and little ones can learn the names of the equipment, the positions, various kinds of pitches (“The pitch can be a curveball, slider, fastball, or sinker”), and a few different rules (“If the batter hits the ball, they run to first base”). In the photos, almost all the players, who have a range of hair lengths and look as though they could be both male and female, are white. The final double-page spread shows two different celebratory shots of two apparently all-white Little League teams, with nary a person of color in sight. The small trim size is approximately 5 inches in diameter, which confines the little action that is portrayed, and the narrow binding will likely not survive robust play or library circulation.

While it is (mostly) an appropriately simple introduction to the sport, the lack of player diversity is discouraging, if not out-and-out astonishing. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0399-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

I AM A ZAMBONI MACHINE

While an audience of young vehicle aficionados or avid skaters might be attracted, this is a disappointing and poorly...

Learn how Zambonis clean ice in this awkwardly shaped book.

In the voice of the Zamboni, dull pronouncements about each step of the ice-cleaning process give readers a rudimentary but adequate overview of how the vehicle works. The book is cut into the shape of a Zamboni machine (and driver), but the unusual format adds nothing of substance and even detracts from the story. Each page turn removes a section of the Zamboni, but the image under the cutaway doesn’t necessarily match, creating pages with two confusingly juxtaposed scenes. Though the pages are thick, they are prone to fraying, and the edges remain sharp and jab fingers painfully, especially around the severe cuts defining the driver’s face. The pen-and-ink–style digital art is underwhelming, and attempts to make the art feel lively fall flat. A puppy sitting next to the driver is far too rabbitlike, and the American flag found on every page looks odd, as if a poor quality sticker were applied over the images. There’s a single hockey player of color; the driver and crowds are white.

While an audience of young vehicle aficionados or avid skaters might be attracted, this is a disappointing and poorly designed book . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-27773-9

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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