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ABC SHAPES

BEYOND SQUARES AND CIRCLES TO CUBES AND SQUIRCLES

From the Little Concepts series

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

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 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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THE CRAYONS LOVE OUR PLANET

A droll exploration of color and nature—and a welcome reminder to safeguard our planet.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wildly popular Crayons have an important ecological message.

Though climate change is never mentioned, the book nevertheless gently introduces responsibility for Planet Earth. As in previous titles, the main text is in a large black font, while the Crayons’ dialogue is presented in a smaller, gray font. Blue begins by showing off a blue-tinged image of the globe (land masses are depicted in a darker hue). Green takes over: “Yay, Trees! I did those!” Beige breaks in, pointing to a tiny wheat plant next to two large trees: “And wheat! I did the WHEAT!” Beige puts wheat front and center throughout—even on White’s drawing of mountaintop ice caps. When Red, Yellow, and Orange display drawings of various fruits, Beige interjects, “And WHEAT. Wheat is totally fruit.” Diplomatic Purple politely responds, “Um. NO. It is not.” Purple attempts to dissuade self-important Beige, but it all ends happily as the Crayons join hands and proclaim: “Our planet has all of us too, in many shapes, colors, and sizes.” Beige and Purple reconcile, with Beige adding, “And it’s our job to keep the planet safe.” Young children will easily absorb this positive message. Although these characters have had many outings, their quiet humor still succeeds, and fans will definitely want this new entry.

A droll exploration of color and nature—and a welcome reminder to safeguard our planet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9780593621080

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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