A prodigious polylingual production.

READ REVIEW

20 FIRST WORDS IN 20 LANGUAGES

A set of stock photos, mostly of happy babies or toddlers, with big spinners between each that offer appropriate single words in 20 languages.

A baby waves in the first picture, and turning the toothed wheel reveals 20 greetings in a small die-cut window adjacent. These range from “bonjour” to—with phonetic pronunciation in brackets and, as required, nonroman script—“kumustà,” “xin chào,” and “[mar-ha-baan].” Each language is identified (the ones above being French, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Arabic), with English included in the mix but, due to the circular format, not privileged. Refreshingly, European languages are in the minority, and there is an uncommon bounty of Asian languages. Except for colonial tongues, South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Oceania are unrepresented. The infant cast and the grown-ups sometimes posed alongside appear diverse, although all wear secular Western clothing. Human images give way toward the end to equally cute pictures of pets (English: “dog,” pronounced “[dahg]”; Mandarin: “[goh]”; Cantonese: “[gow]”), a VW beetle (German: “auto”; Hindi: “[gar-lee]”), and other subjects. They’re all capped by a final view of a diapered butt (Italian: “arrivederci,” etc.). Many polylingual picture books, such as Ben Handicott’s Hello Atlas, illustrated by Kenard Pak (2016), offer samples of a greater number of languages, but along with its large vocabulary this positively shines with visual appeal. It may be one of those rare board books that draws more interest in repeat visits from older sharers than younger ones.

A prodigious polylingual production. (Board book/novelty. 6 mos.-5)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-23064-5

Page Count: 11

Publisher: Odd Dot

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Genial starter nonfiction.

THE HUMAN BODY

From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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A solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so.

WOMEN ARTISTS A TO Z

Contemporary and historical female artists are showcased for younger readers.

The artists’ names aren’t presented in A-to-Z order. The alphabetical arrangement actually identifies signature motifs (“D is for Dots” for Yayoi Kusama); preferred media (“I is for Ink” for Elizabeth Catlett); or cultural, natural, or personal motives underlying artworks (“N is for Nature” for Maya Lin). Various media are covered, such as painting, box assemblage, collage, photography, pottery, and sculpture. One artist named isn’t an individual but rather the Gee’s Bend Collective, “generations of African American women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama,” renowned for quilting artistry. Each artist and her or their work is introduced on a double-page spread that features succinct descriptions conveying much admiring, easily comprehensible information. Colorful illustrations include graphically simplified representations of the women at work or alongside examples of their art; the spreads provide ample space for readers to understand what the artists produced. Several women were alive when this volume was written; some died in the recent past or last century; two worked several hundred years ago, when female artists were rare. Commendably, the profiled artists are very diverse: African American, Latina, Native American, Asian, white, and multiethnic women are represented; this diversity is reflected in their work, as explained via texts and illustrations.

A solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so. (minibiographies, discussion questions, art suggestions) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10872-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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