Consider this an unessential novelty unless sturdy books with nonanimal sounds are sought.

I LOVE MUSIC

MY FIRST SOUND BOOK

Recorder, piano, violin, guitars, drums, and xylophone are played by a pig, elephant, cat, zebras, bears, and mice respectively, while chips embedded in each page play an appropriate snippet of music.

Toddlers and most of their parents won't easily recognize all the tunes. The violin snippet is attributed to Brahms; the piano tune is an obscure section of Mozart's “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”; music for the xylophone and drums are credited to Gallimard Jeunesse, the original French publisher. The book demands some significant leaps of faith. How exactly an elephant can sit at a piano and press the keys isn't at all clear, for instance. All the action takes place in a circus setting, though the tunes are not normally associated with circus acts, nor will toddlers recognize the venue from the illustrations. The cartoonish animals bear little resemblance to any real animal, and the fiddle-playing cat is identifiable only through the text. None of this is likely to bother toddlers, who will quickly find the sound buttons embedded in each board page and delight in pressing them repeatedly to charm (or annoy) their adult companions—who will barely have time to read the brief text before their children are ready to move on to the next noise.

Consider this an unessential novelty unless sturdy books with nonanimal sounds are sought. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-338-03261-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A simple but action-packed story for the littlest ballplayers.

BASEBALL BABY

From the Sports Baby Book series

A toddler enjoys a family baseball game and explains baseball basics.

The focus of the first-person narrative is the titular tot, a Black child with short hair wearing a pin-striped shirt and blue baseball cap (those who aren’t Yankee fans may not appreciate the look). The other players, all members of the same Black family, include an older, gray-haired “coach,” a pink-clad kid with hair in a topknot Afro puff, a goatee’d grown-up, and a ponytailed adult. Together they play a robust game of what is actually T-ball—a bit easier for the preschool set to emulate. The action includes practice throws, catching fly balls, batting, and even a home run to finish the game. The narrative consists of gentle rhyming verse, slightly forced to accommodate all the baseball vocabulary: “Up it flies. / The outfield chases. / I drop my bat / and run the bases.” Various critters, including a bird, an earthworm, and a bunny, can be seen cheering on the players. The boldly colored cartoon figures stand out well against the softer, more muted landscapes. The outing ends with the little baseball player tucked into bed, still wearing “my lucky hat.”

A simple but action-packed story for the littlest ballplayers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20243-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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A welcome addition to the toddler bookshelf.

LEO CAN SWIM

Leo is back (Leo Loves Baby Time, 2014, etc.), and now he happily attends a community swim class with Daddy.

“Leo loves the water. He is like a little fish!” A smiling Leo is in sudsy bath water, his dark, curly head and brown body held up by a pair of strong, brown, adult arms. As the story continues, readers see Leo and Daddy interact lovingly throughout, from sitting together on a big chair—viewing a swim-class brochure—to changing into proper swim attire in the locker room and taking part in a class that features a pool full of other happy baby-and-adult pairs. The range of skin and hair types is commendable, even including one adult-child combination of nonmatching skin. Getting used to the off-center noses of the babies requires a little time—probably more for adults than children. The text has some sentences that will sound delightful to little ears as little eyes view the water babies: “They swish and swoosh. They splish and sploosh.” The tender and competent care given to Leo by his father is reason enough to praise this book. Also, like its predecessor, the codex itself has rounded corners and strong, resilient paper to accommodate its audience. The ending is a bit abrupt, but it parallels babies’ and toddlers’ tendencies to play hard and suddenly run out of energy.

A welcome addition to the toddler bookshelf. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58089-725-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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