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From the Baby Loves… series

A straightforward and lively introduction to the democratic process for readers older than babies.

Baby learns about the elections in this latest entry to the Baby Loves… series.

A toddler with light-brown skin works with her white mommy to color signs and put stamps on postcards to get out the vote, and she cheers Mommy on when she “puts the ballot into the machine.” Along the way, Baby explores key aspects of the political process with her white mom and another, brown-skinned caregiver, such as campaigning, candidates, and the different types of political leaders. It is a simplified and rosy picture of American democracy, asserting confidently that the “candidate with the most votes wins,” and political opponents “can still be friends” after an election. The art is a toddler-centric, idealized world in a bold, bright cartoon style featuring political candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. There is a female-presenting president, a black, male-presenting vice president, a brown-skinned, hijabi senator, and a white, male-presenting representative who uses a wheelchair. While the explanations, imagery, and suggested activities are spot-on for older preschoolers, the format and the “baby” label make the content developmentally inappropriate for the target audience of babies and toddlers. Little ones still learning to label things in their homes and their neighborhoods will be hard-pressed to understand the basics of civic engagement.

A straightforward and lively introduction to the democratic process for readers older than babies. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62354-227-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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

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 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A timely message in the wrong format.

This book delivers a message on the power of collective action.

As the book opens, a child looks at a lone star shining in the sky: “One star shines as distant light.” After the turn of the page, the child now sees what looks like the Milky Way: “And when stars shine together, they make our galaxy.” The book goes on to give a number of similar examples to reinforce the message of the power that comes from working together, ending with: “One of us can speak up for justice / And when we speak up together we create a world of possibility.” In the current atmosphere of strife and discord that divides our country, this is certainly a welcome message. Perhaps, though, the board-book set is not the right audience. As a picture book aimed at a slightly older group with an information page at the end explaining some of the illustrations, it might work well. As it is, however, some of the visual references will merely puzzle a toddler—and some adults. For example, a group of angry-looking people raising their fists and singing together may not look like “harmony” to a toddler—unless they know about the New Zealand haka. There is an unexplained frog motif that runs through the book that may also mystify readers. Nagara’s brilliant illustrations portray people of many ethnic backgrounds.

A timely message in the wrong format. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64421-084-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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