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THE BIG BOOK OF WORDS AND PICTURES

There are not enough words available to save this jampacked selection from bursting-at-the-seams busyness.

A picture dictionary without much rhyme or reason.

This oversized German import covers a vast range of concepts and topics, both familiar and foreign to young children. Tiny, clean illustrations of objects array themselves on a white background, sometimes including winsome animal characters. From ordinary household items to things seen in the out-of-doors to common foods to modes of transportation to musical instruments to sports to amusements to emotional concepts, this book tries to cover everything. Some items may be recognizable but are unlikely to come up in casual conversation (runner beans), while others (beret, lawn bowling) seem hardly necessary as toddler vocabulary. Slight variations in terminology make for unwarranted repetition; instead of just one bed on display, toddler, single and double beds all make an appearance. Vocabulary provides highly specific terms (“push bike”). Concepts covered include numbers, shapes and emotions, while an alphabet review in an eye-pleasing but developmentally baffling sophisticated design rounds out the comprehensive selection. With some 20 items to the page, spreads overwhelm rather than illuminate.

There are not enough words available to save this jampacked selection from bursting-at-the-seams busyness. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-8775-7905-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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IN THE WIND

A gentle outing for children who are ready for stories of everyday life rather than just objects to name.

A brief rhyming board book for toddlers.

Spurr's earlier board books (In the Garden and At the Beach, both 2012; In the Woods, 2013) featured an adventuresome little boy. Her new slice-of-life story stars an equally joyful little girl who takes pleasure in flying a new kite while not venturing far off the walkway. Oliphant's expressive and light-filled watercolors clearly depict the child's emotions—eager excitement on the way to the park, delight at the kite's flight in the wind, shock when the kite breaks free, dejection, and finally relief and amazement. The rhymes work, though uneven syllable counts in some stanzas interrupt the smooth flow of the verse. The illustrations depict the child with her mass of windblown curls, brown skin, and pronounced facial features as African-American. Her guardian (presumably her mother) is also brown-skinned. It is refreshing to see an African-American family settled comfortably in a suburban setting with single-family homes and a park where the family dog does not need to be leashed.

A gentle outing for children who are ready for stories of everyday life rather than just objects to name. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56145-854-7

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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