With its companion, fun for music-loving tots whose grown-ups like these artists.

READ REVIEW

BABY BOWIE

A BOOK ABOUT ADJECTIVES

From the Baby Rocker series

Though this and other titles in the Baby Rocker series seem aimed more at aging rocker parents than at toddlers, it’s undeniably charming.

The Onion once ran a story headlined, “Cool Dad Raising Daughter on Media That Will Put Her Entirely out of Touch With Her Generation.” The Baby Rocker books arouse a similar sense of irony despite being quite good for what they are. Both this David Bowie–themed celebration of adjectives and its companion volume, Baby KISS: A Book About Colors, are visual delights, bursting with bright hues and simple but stylized renderings of the critical iconography of both acts. Bowie’s “SPIKY hair” (with eye patch) and “SHINY lightning bolt” (à la Aladdin Sane) and KISS’ “BLACK-AND-WHITE face paint” and Gene Simmons’ “PINK tongue” all feature prominently, for example. One stumble: using the phrase “SMOOTH costume” to describe an outfit that Bowie fans will instantly recognize from the Ziggy Stardust era. While in photos the outfit is clearly shiny and reflective (and, therefore, smooth), it’s hard for anyone, child or adult, to infer that from this matte cartoon rendering. Bowie’s “THICK eyeliner” may prompt conversations about gender presentation. But the fundamental question is whether kids should be reading about contemporary acts or about their caregivers’ heroes? Will there be a Baby Rappers series, too?

With its companion, fun for music-loving tots whose grown-ups like these artists. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6801-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Little fingers will enjoy making this book dance, and their bodies may not be far behind.

DANCE

Using his signature supersturdy pull-tabs to animate the scenes, Van Fleet concocts a crowd pleaser about a baby chick learning to dance.

At the dance hall, a newly hatched chick, dubbed “Chickie Baby,” is taught to shake by hippopotamuses, to hop by bunnies, and more. The rhyming text is playfully repetitive and rhythmic, employing some clever wordplay: “Cool, Chickie Baby, now you’re great and gettin’ greater! / Now swing both your arms and do the Gator Mashed Potater!” Here an alligator teaches Chickie Baby a fist-pumping arm motion (not actually the 1960s mashed potato dance), activated by the pull-tab on the right of the page. There are times when the text’s phrases miss the meter and the refrain after Chickie Baby learns a step (“You can dance!”) doesn’t quite flow. The final double-page spread shows Chickie Baby showing off all of his moves, and his friends offer a curtain call in the form of a gatefold pop-up. But the star here, for any toddler or preschooler, will be the extra-large pull-tabs. From the “Busy Beaver Bop” to the “Crazy Piggy Tap,” these tabs demand to be pulled repeatedly—and they can take it. A thick, clear piece of plastic acts as protection for the parts, making this series the sturdiest movable books available.

Little fingers will enjoy making this book dance, and their bodies may not be far behind. (Pop-up board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8707-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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