Sure to result in choruses of ooohs, coos, and mews.

A panorama of pets, with big tabs to pull and furry or textured patches to fondle.

Dozens of small pets crowd the ultrasturdy white pages or peer from behind heavy acetate windows. If not every single one comes with a well-anchored piece of synthetic fur or fuzz or can be made to peek out or waggle a fin by pulling a big, geared-for-toddlers tab, all—even the hermit crab and the sticky snails—are bright and cute as buttons. Except for mentioning that “small” potbellied pigs “get too big,” Van Fleet doesn’t address the practicalities (or ethics) of keeping as pets some of the less-domesticated birds, reptiles, and other creatures on display. In fact, the text is written for rhythm more than it is for literal meaning: “Gnaw pet, / Chew pet, / Peck pet, / Crunch! / Gulp pet, / Nibble pets—munch, munch, munch, munch, munch!” In this tableau, a chinchilla, a degu, a parrot, a tortoise, a goldfish, a mouse, and a guinea pig all nosh, the pull-tab wiggling the guinea pig’s head as it nibbles. All, from guinea pig and goldfish to veiled chameleon, ornate horned frog, and sun conure are identified in a grand pop-up assemblage at the end. The earthier underpinnings of the team’s similarly designed Color Dog (2015) may be absent, but the sheer diversity of the animal cast will delight diapered audiences.

Sure to result in choruses of ooohs, coos, and mews. (Informational novelty. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8247-0

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021


A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind.

Ten babies in 10 countries greet friends in almost 10 languages.

Countries of origin are subtly identified. For example, on the first spread, NYC is emblazoned on a blond, white baby’s hat as well as a brown baby’s scoot-car taxi. On the next spread, “Mexico City” is written on a light brown toddler’s bike. A flag in each illustration provides another hint. However, the languages are not named, so on first reading, the fine but important differences between Spanish and Portuguese are easily missed. This is also a problem on pages showing transliterated Arabic from Cairo and Afrikaans from Cape Town. Similarly, Chinese and Japanese are transliterated, without use of traditional hànzì or kanji characters. British English is treated as a separate language, though it is, after all, still English. French (spoken by 67 million people) is included, but German, Russian, and Hindi (spoken by 101 million, 145 million, and 370 million respectively) are not. English translations are included in a slightly smaller font. This world survey comes full circle, ending in San Francisco with a beige baby sleeping in an equally beige parent’s arms. The message of diversity is reinforced by images of three babies—one light brown, one medium brown, one white—in windows on the final spread.

A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-938093-87-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Duo Press

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017


Satisfying, engaging, and sure to entertain the toddlers at whom it is aimed.

Nine basic shapes in vivid shifting colors are stacked on pages in various permutations.

This visually striking and carefully assembled collection of shapes, which seems to have been inspired by an Eric Carle aesthetic, invites young children to put their observation, categorization, problem-solving, color, and spatial-relation skills to work, pondering shapes and compositions—and even learning about prepositions in the process. As the text says, “a stack of shapes can make you think and wonder what you see.” First, readers see a circle under a strawberry (the red diamond with a leafy, green top and yellow-triangle seeds) and then that berry over a green square. The orange oval made to look like a fish is added to a stack of three shapes to become “yellow over diamond under guppy over green.” And so on. The metamorphosis of many of these simple shapes into animals (a yellow circle becomes a lion; a green square, a frog; a pink heart, a pig; a yellow diamond, a chicken) will surprise and delight children. Questions are directed at readers: Is a square with two round eyes and semicircle feet a “frog or square or green?” Why, all of the above! The text possesses a pleasing rhythm and subtle rhymes, positively begging to be read aloud: “circle next to berry / square by bear by sweet // blue up high / pig down low / yellow in between.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Satisfying, engaging, and sure to entertain the toddlers at whom it is aimed. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-79720-508-3

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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