Bright and bold, this will certainly catch the eye of every reader.

CHINESE NEW YEAR COLORS

A color-concept book with a bilingual, cultural twist.

Chinese New Year gets a daring new look. A single color dominates a complete page spread. On recto, the name of the featured color in English is displayed on a white background while both the traditional Chinese characters and a romanized rendition, complete with accent marks, appear below in an inverse color scheme. A single cultural object related to Chinese New Year fully occupies the right. Here Lo’s talents shine with his renderings. The composition is simple, with the object sitting solo, centered within the line of sight. Artistic liberties are tastefully taken, with the object portrayed in a singular color that is occasionally contrary to tradition. Yet no embellishments are lost in the deceptively spare composition. This is best observed on the portrait of the teapot. Lo makes sure that no flower, leaf, or curly twirl of its details is omitted. The objects seem to pop due to the skilled shading and tricks of perspective. The background itself teems with textures, with occasional splatters of paint, bleeding edges, and blooms of watercolor that unevenly occupy the space. Vocabulary-wise, the only outlier is the use of the word “Cerulean” instead of “light blue,” which may require an explanation. A guide describing each object follows.

Bright and bold, this will certainly catch the eye of every reader. (Picture book 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4371-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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

ABCS OF ART

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 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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