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

PET

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. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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The game element doesn’t fly, but the art and interactive panels will attract toddler interest.

BUGS AND OTHER LITTLE CRITTERS

From the Matching Game Book series

Peek through sliding panels to discover all manner of insects and small creatures.

Though the “critters’’ might be little, this is one hefty board book! While the series of eight sliding panels clustered on the recto of each spread makes the book’s solid cardboard construction essential, they also make it unwieldy. The back-cover proclamation that this a “great take-along travel activity” notwithstanding, this is not a book caregivers will toss in a diaper bag. Opening the book, readers find a vibrant landscape on the verso of each spread, with five distinct habitats including watery pond, cheery meadow, and eye-catching nocturnal scene. Clearly labelled bugs and creatures mill about, with a satisfying mix of common (ladybugs) and uncommon (weevils) bug and animal species. Opposite the scene, eight smoothly moving panels hide four matching pairs. Though there are general suggestions of games to play with the panels written in itty-bitty text, the list of ideas (match the animals, locate them on the scene, hide the critters, and play I spy) feels half-hearted and repetitive at best. Better are the cartoon illustrations that make spiders, bats, and mosquitoes look as friendly as these creatures can, with large eyes and unobtrusive smiles. Intense, almost garish primary colors are forcefully cheerful.

The game element doesn’t fly, but the art and interactive panels will attract toddler interest. (Novelty/board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-2-40802-465-9

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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More information than toddlers will sit still for; not enough for preschoolers who are outgrowing board books.

MY BODY

From the Hello World! series

An introduction to the body for the youngest readers.

It’s an endlessly fascinating topic, but here it is explained in wordy and needlessly exclamatory detail. On the opening spread three children play: One flies a kite, another plays hopscotch, and a third hangs upside down from a branch while the text explains that “your body can do so many things!” Basic facts about each body part are explained on subsequent spreads—more or less. A spread devoted to the belly button gives no hint to its original purpose. A busy park scene with all the characters and summary text that emphasizes the importance of “Lots of sleep, good food, and plenty of exercise” ends this compendium. McDonald’s attempts to be inclusive don’t quite succeed. A brown-skinned boy playing wheelchair basketball is used to explain arm joints, and there are several other children of color in the book. But on the page about hearing, the brown-skinned tot’s prominent ears and his placement in a tree make him look more like a monkey than a child—an unfortunate association. Many spreads include a question that relates to the topic but could also prove distracting. An additional fact on each spread set in a smaller font is clearly for older children or grown-ups, not toddlers.

More information than toddlers will sit still for; not enough for preschoolers who are outgrowing board books. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6636-8

Page Count: 27

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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