Too sophisticated for the traditional board-book crowd, it’s a handsome offering for older children who are ready to take a...

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ABC SHAPES

BEYOND SQUARES AND CIRCLES TO CUBES AND SQUIRCLES

From the Little Concepts series

From “arch” to “zigzag,” an alphabetical catalog of shapes (and a few symbols) rarely found in concept books.

In the follow-up to ABC Color (2017), Chagollan and Arrhenius adhere to the previous format and remind readers that there are more shapes in the world than the standard square, circle, triangle, etc. The names of two shapes are listed on the verso (“ellipse” and “fleur-de-lis,” for instance), and on the recto appears an illustration incorporating the featured forms (a white, red-haired knight carrying an elliptical shield sporting a fleur-de-lis insignia in this case). Many of the formal, geometric names are used for the configurations, such as “lemniscate” for an infinity symbol and a “squircle” for a square with rounded corners, and may be new to grown-up and child readers alike. Arrhenius’ graphic imagery is pleasingly flat and simple, with keen use of nicely matched, muted colors. Unfortunately, the project lacks much diversity, as most of the skin tones are a rosy pink and never darker than a pale brown. The opening double-page spread depicts a beach scene and many of the shapes to follow; inspired readers will turn back once they’ve finished to use their new vocabulary. The final pages recount all the forms in a rapid-fire list for easy reference.

Too sophisticated for the traditional board-book crowd, it’s a handsome offering for older children who are ready to take a geometric deep dive. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-514-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard.

THE WIND PLAYS TRICKS

When a fierce wind descends on the barnyard, the animals hear some odd noises…and they’re coming from their own mouths.

The sudden wind unsettles all the animals on the farm just when they should be getting ready for sleep. Instead, they anxiously “cheep” and “cluck” and “oink” and “quack” and “moooo.” They shift nervously, pull together, and make all sorts of noises. All except Turtle, who tucks into his shell under an old log and sleeps. In the morning, though, the animals get a surprise. Pig says, “Cluck”; the Little Chicks say, “Neigh”; Horse crows, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.” How will they get their proper sounds back? Turtle has an idea, and he enjoys the process so much that he decides to open his mouth the next time the wind plays tricks at the farm: Perhaps he’ll catch a sound all his own. Chua’s cartoon barnyard is bright, and her animals, expressive, their faces and body language slightly anthropomorphized. The edges of the figures sometimes betray their digital origins. Though the tale is humorous and will give lots of opportunity for practicing animal sounds, the audience is hard to pin down, as the young children sure to enjoy mooing and clucking may not have the patience to sit through the somewhat lengthy text.

For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8735-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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