TEN ANIMALS IN ANTARCTICA

A COUNTING BOOK

This spare counting book is set in Antarctica’s extreme landscape.

Antarctica, home to “icy deserts, mountain ranges, and volcanoes,” also hosts “amazing and unique animals,” 10 of which are explored in the text and backmatter of this simple picture book. Familiar animals such as emperor penguins and orcas are pictured in their habitats, as are less-familiar creatures such as Antarctic krill and blackfin ice fish. Collage-style illustrations place clean, colorful shapes against textured backgrounds to show the animals on the icy plains, “surveying the frosty floes” or “drifting with the turning tide.” The text, set in a large, clear typeface, makes lovely use of language, distilling the animals’ traits, habits, and settings into single, punchy lines full of alliteration, rhythm, and poignant description. Each spread includes the relevant numeral in a large display type and features one species, with the individual creatures large and easy to see and count. Young children will enjoy practicing their counting skills while learning more about an area of the world that captures the imagination. Backmatter offers further information about Antarctica, including its (several!) poles, and about each animal mentioned in the book at a higher reading level that will require interpretation for the target audience.

Brilliantly executed. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-232-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind.

BABIES AROUND THE WORLD

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 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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