An engaging vocabulary booster that repays careful examination.

READ REVIEW

FRANKIE'S MAGICAL DAY

A FIRST BOOK OF WHIMSICAL WORDS

A tot spends a day with her parents.

Frankie is a little girl in a big world. This oversized board book introduces little readers to that world and, by extension, perhaps to their own. As Frankie explores double-page spreads of her house, backyard, neighborhood, and more, little ones are encouraged to look for specific items, such as the “(friendly) ghost” in the attic and the colored pencils at the grocery store, in each scene. Objects are labeled in small, lowercase serif type while the book’s narrative is delivered in a bold, uppercase, and multicolored sans-serif. The large pages contain a lot of small details, and little ones won’t be able to resist leaning in close to absorb the colorful scenery. Whimsical touches include a masked “bunny bandit” in the backyard and a sneaky kitty who is represented mostly by the parts that peek out. The book works well as a vocabulary expander, but it may well be just as effective in the back seat on long car rides. Purple-haired Frankie is biracial, with a pale-skinned, pink-haired mom and brown-skinned, black-haired dad. Her world is a comfortable, multicultural, suburban one of stand-alone houses and tidy streets.

An engaging vocabulary booster that repays careful examination. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2824-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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Sweet idea, but these cupcakes are missing some key ingredients.

STIR CRACK WHISK BAKE

A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT LITTLE CAKES

America’s Test Kitchen invites young children to bake pretend cupcakes.

Smiling bowls, cups, and spoons guide would-be cooks through the basic steps of baking. The instructions start out clearly: “First, we gather the ingredients.” Then pretend takes over. Unfortunately, the applike instruction to “Use your finger to drag each one to the counter” makes no sense, as the ingredients don’t actually move, and unlike Hervé Tullet’s books, the page turn does not work the appropriate magic. Nor can the spilled flour on the next page be brushed off. Similarly, swiping a finger around the edge of a bowl will not mix batter, tapping pictures of eggs will not crack them, and bowls of dry and wet ingredients cannot be combined just by shaking them. Finally, after many pretend steps, the child can count down with the timer until the cupcakes are done. On the next spread they are asked to blow on the cakes to cool them enough to frost. Then a bowl of frosting magically arrives, and the child is invited to “dip your fingers in the frosting” to frost each cake. Yes, this is imaginary play. But simple, age-appropriate instructions—measure, mix, pour, bake, frost, sprinkle, enjoy—accompanied by clear illustrations would more effectively entice toddlers into the kitchen than this. Counterintuitively, there is no simple recipe with tips on baking with tots for caregivers.

Sweet idea, but these cupcakes are missing some key ingredients. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7773-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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