A timely message in the wrong format.

This book delivers a message on the power of collective action.

As the book opens, a child looks at a lone star shining in the sky: “One star shines as distant light.” After the turn of the page, the child now sees what looks like the Milky Way: “And when stars shine together, they make our galaxy.” The book goes on to give a number of similar examples to reinforce the message of the power that comes from working together, ending with: “One of us can speak up for justice / And when we speak up together we create a world of possibility.” In the current atmosphere of strife and discord that divides our country, this is certainly a welcome message. Perhaps, though, the board-book set is not the right audience. As a picture book aimed at a slightly older group with an information page at the end explaining some of the illustrations, it might work well. As it is, however, some of the visual references will merely puzzle a toddler—and some adults. For example, a group of angry-looking people raising their fists and singing together may not look like “harmony” to a toddler—unless they know about the New Zealand haka. There is an unexplained frog motif that runs through the book that may also mystify readers. Nagara’s brilliant illustrations portray people of many ethnic backgrounds.

A timely message in the wrong format. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64421-084-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021


Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this.

From “Apple” to “Zebra,” an alphabet of images drawn from museum paintings.

In an exhibition that recalls similar, if less parochial, ABCs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (My First ABC, 2009) and several other institutions, Hahn presents a Eurocentric selection of paintings or details to illustrate for each letter a common item or animal—all printed with reasonable clarity and captioned with identifying names, titles, and dates. She then proceeds to saddle each with an inane question (“What sounds do you think this cat is making?” “Where can you find ice?”) and a clumsily written couplet that unnecessarily repeats the artist’s name: “Flowers are plants that blossom and bloom. / Frédéric Bazille painted them filling up this room!” She also sometimes contradicts the visuals, claiming that the horses in a Franz Marc painting entitled “Two Horses, 1912” are ponies, apparently to populate the P page. Moreover, her “X” is an actual X-ray of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard, showing that the artist repainted his subject’s face…interesting but not quite in keeping with the familiar subjects chosen for the other letters.

Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4938-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019



A mix of fabs and flubs, but there are plenty of opportunities for interactive play nonetheless, at least as long as the...

Cardboard tools for budding carpenters.

Each of the five heavy-duty press-out tools can be put to immediate use—turning screws on the page opposite the screwdriver, for instance, or making a satisfying “whoopa-whoopa” by sliding the saw through five adjacent die-cut slots. It’s not going to be quite so easy, though, to measure “1 board” when the accompanying slotted tape measure has no numbers on it (and is also shorter than the board and very sticky and hard to work, to boot). Readers are encouraged to use the wrench to “tighten 2 nuts,” but those nuts are on smooth posts rather than threads, so they simply spin fruitlessly rather than tightening. The four flat “nails” that can be hammered into slots are small enough to make the toddler advisory on the rear cover a necessity, too. Still, the tools and other pieces are large enough for post-toddlers to wield easily, and they offer tantalizing previews of what handling real tools will be like. The book closes with an encouraging “Good job using your tools!”

A mix of fabs and flubs, but there are plenty of opportunities for interactive play nonetheless, at least as long as the parts stay with the book. (Novelty board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2929-4

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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