Leave this developmentally inappropriate title on the shelf.

BABY LOVES CODING!

From the Baby Loves… series

A board book for the toddlers of Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.

As with Baby Loves Quarks! (2016) and its series companions, Spiro attempts to explain a topic too complex and abstract for toddlers. The bright-eyed brown-skinned cartoon child on the cover is inviting enough. But it’s hard to imagine the real baby who will be able to follow her example: “Baby takes three steps to the right, three steps forward, and three steps to the left.” The text can tell readers that “This pattern of steps is called an algorithm” when repeated every time the child wants to go to the toy box, but that does not mean babies can understand, much less replicate, the behavior of a computer program. As with many tech-oriented toys designed for gifted tots, a toy train is used to illustrate coding. Later pictures show other machines that rely on unseen computer code to function. There is nothing factually wrong here. And yes, parents and caregivers can follow the book’s example by inserting the language of science and coding in conversation. But 20 pages of oversimplified explanations of theoretical concepts, no matter how attractively packaged, will not translate to understanding until the child is past the concrete-operations stage of development—and even gifted toddlers just aren’t there yet.

Leave this developmentally inappropriate title on the shelf. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-884-3

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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100 FIRST WORDS

The titular words are divided by topic with animals participating along the way.

This board book reads exactly as expected. Common “first words” are organized into thematic sections like “toys and games,” “at the park,” and “things that go.” Wide-eyed animals are shown riding on a bus, using the potty, and talking on a cellphone (labeled telephone). All of the scenes and words are fairly predictable, making it familiar to toddlers but not necessarily exposing them to new vocabulary unless this is truly the first of its ilk they are reading. The “parts of the body” pages use three monkeys to demonstrate those parts, omitting tail, ears, and facial features. The choice of monkey rather than human models is an odd one, since this book is meant for very young learners just beginning to name and identify these parts of their own bodies. The “things that go” spread is the most visually interesting—possibly overstimulating for younger readers. There is plenty for caregivers to talk about with children here, in contrast to the bare-bones “clothes” spread, for example. The illustrations are cutesy and two-dimensional. This makes the pictures easy to identify, but it also means they lack detail and complexity. Sturdy and sized for small hands, this book does indeed present 100 words but offers little to make it stand out among the many other similar titles already on shelves.

Does the job. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-687-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good.

SHAPE UP, CONSTRUCTION TRUCKS!

Storytime gets a kick in the pants with this jaunty combo of shapes and vehicles.

In this look at basic geometry via high-resolution photographs of construction trucks, the youngest of readers are introduced to nine different shapes. Using a seek-and-find format, the book encourages them to locate each shape as it appears on a vehicle, clearly delineated with thick, colorful lines. A clear, red triangle decorates the bed of a dump truck; a blue oval surrounds the barrel of a concrete mixer. The rhyming text names the featured equipment, each shot with crystal clarity outdoors on a variety of beautiful days. From the jaunty little red forklift sporting a rectangle on its side to the rhombus of a road sign snapped at an angle, small fingers will have no difficulty tracing each of the featured shapes again and again. Similar in its cadences to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle (1967), this book is ideal for construction storytimes everywhere. “Road roller / Road roller / Coming through! / I spy a circle— / How about you?” Be sure to sing it to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” if you really want to bring down the house. Activities to further engage young children are included at the end of the book.

Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77278-134-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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