BABY LOVES GRAVITY!

From the Baby Loves… series

Good intentions gone wrong.

A baby and a dog discover gravity in this appealingly illustrated, developmentally inappropriate book.

This and Baby Loves Coding are the latest offerings in the Baby Loves Science series of board books. These cute but overzealous attempts to create STEM students from children fresh from the womb seem aimed more at pushy parents than at doctoral candidates in diapers. Previous volumes have featured toddlers who love quarks, aerospace engineering, thermodynamics, and quantum physics. The contents of this book have been vetted for scientific accuracy; one wonders whether the creative team also vetted the practical value of teaching preschoolers to parrot answers to questions they’re ill-equipped to pose or indeed comprehend: “Why does a noodle fall? / Because of gravity!” Babies will have observed the central action this book presents—the fall to the floor of some tidbit from their highchair trays—over and over, but does “When Baby drops something, the earth pulls it down” adequately describe the phenomenon? For a toddler audience, even simple explanations of the science in this book require more exposition than board books allow and raise more questions than they answer. “Everything is made of matter. The amount of matter is called mass.” OK, what is matter? And if gravity makes spaghetti fall to Earth, why does it make the moon go around it? The baby has brown skin and tightly curled black hair.

Good intentions gone wrong. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-836-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

THE TOUCH BOOK

From the My World series

A fun, utilitarian vocabulary builder that begs to be picked up and touched.

In the tradition of Pat the Bunny, this effort offers plenty of opportunity for tactile exploration.

Though it lacks the inventiveness, charm, and nontactile sensory provocations that make Pat the Bunny an enduring classic, this gives little hands plenty to grab, feel, touch, and experience. There are no “Paul and Judy” on hand to emulate, but the die-cut, fuzzy handprint in the middle of the thick, cardboard cover makes the book’s intent and methodology clear to its audience. So does the admonition, “Let’s Get Hands-on!” accompanying a photo of a little White child with fingers and palms covered in different colors of paint. The next page lists 10 different textures along with photographs of items that act as examples of each. Featured sensations are “fluffy, crinkly, smooth, bumpy, sticky, spongy, furry, rough, scratchy, [and] soft.” Each texture gets a two-page spread featuring several different items or creatures that feel that way and one large example with a die-cut hole and an embedded tactile element of the corresponding texture. The book features plenty of vocabulary, including three synonyms for each type of texture. There’s a descriptive sentence: “Fluffy things feel light and airy,” for example. Questions add an interactive element, inviting children to explore for themselves: “If you run your finger along something crinkly, what kind of noise does it make?”

A fun, utilitarian vocabulary builder that begs to be picked up and touched. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-656-5

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

FUTURE ENGINEER

From the Future Baby series

A book about engineering notable mostly for its illustrations of diverse characters. (Board book. 1-3)

Babies and engineers have more in common than you think.

In this book, Alexander highlights the unlikely similarities between babies and engineers. Like engineers, babies ask questions, enjoy building, and learn from their mistakes. Black’s bold, colorful illustrations feature diverse babies and both male- and female-presenting adult characters with a variety of skin tones and hair colors, effectively demonstrating that engineers can be any race or either gender. (Nonbinary models are a little harder to see.) The story ends with a reassurance to the babies in the book that “We believe in you!” presumably implying that any child can be an engineer. The end pages include facts about different kinds of engineers and the basic process used by all engineers in their work. Although the book opens with a rhythmic rhyming couplet, the remaining text lacks the same structure and pattern, making it less entertaining to read. Furthermore, while some of the comparisons between babies and engineers are both clever and apt, others—such as the idea that babies know where to look for answers—are flimsier. The book ends with a text-heavy spread of facts about engineering that, bereft of illustrations, may not hold children’s attention as well as the previous pages. Despite these flaws, on its best pages, the book is visually stimulating, witty, and thoughtful.

A book about engineering notable mostly for its illustrations of diverse characters. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31223-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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