Simultaneously simple and sophisticated—but not for the baby and toddler board-book crowd; older preschoolers learning to...

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BIRDS & OTHER ANIMALS WITH PABLO PICASSO

From the First Concepts with Fine Artists series

An anthology of Picasso’s animal sketches from various collections including birds, insects, and various mammals.

With pencil and ink reproduced on backgrounds that look like aging white paper (just like the originals), these drawings display a childlike spontaneity. With very few marks, Picasso reduced the animals down to their most basic forms; many look as though they were drawn with one stroke of a pen. An ostrich consists of one leg, a long neck and beak, and a circular scribble at the rear for a tail, and a horse consists of three downward strokes for legs, a boot-shaped head, and two circles at the top of the legs for shoulder and haunch. While his technique is impressive by any standard, the primary audience for board books, babies and toddlers, are still learning to identify each animals’ basic qualities, and these sketches may not serve that goal. Each image is paired with a phrase or sentence at the bottom of the page, often sharing facts both obvious and surprising. (The text is uncredited.) The backmatter includes a short biography of Picasso and much-too-small-to-be-useful facsimiles of the original drawings the sketches were pulled from.

Simultaneously simple and sophisticated—but not for the baby and toddler board-book crowd; older preschoolers learning to make their own representational drawings will be inspired. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7418-0

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy.

SUMMER

A POP-UP BOOK

From the Seasons Pop-Up series

Carter completes his round of seasonal tributes with pop-up sprays of luscious-looking small fruits, garden bounty, and bright flowers.

As before, the locale is a generalized western United States, and both early- and late-season flora and foliage are on display in the same scenes. Along with lots of labels for the neatly limned animals and vegetation in each broad, idyllic landscape—from a “cedar waxwing” nibbling on a “cherry” to the marbled-paper “chickens” pecking beneath a tree heavy with ripe apples—he adds leading questions (“Who eats the flowers?” “Who looks like a stick?”) to invite closer looks. Frisky “chipmunks” are named in the first tableau, then visible without an identifier in each of the following five for younger viewers to point out. Highlighted by a spiraling cucumber vine that turns the vegetable garden into a convincing tangle, the pop-ups are simple and (relatively) sturdy but rear gracefully to surprising heights considering the volume’s small trim size.

Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy. (Informational pop-up picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2832-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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