Sure to get a toddler’s gears turning, in more ways than one.




Mechanics made easy for pint-sized engineers.

This ingenious, interactive volume offers the toddler set an entertaining and engaging introduction to working gears. A colorful, friendly-looking robot teaches a basic principle of mechanics by introducing children to a simple system of interlocking gears. Die-cut holes in the cover, and in each succeeding page till the last, progressively reveal seven working, interconnected gears of different colors and sizes. The book is well-designed—easy for young fingers to operate safely and durable enough to withstand the inevitable tugs and grabbing of inquisitive toddler hands. The book is set up so that at the beginning the child spins only the first, purple “master gear,” touching the side opposite the teeth of the hidden second gear; this arrangement doesn’t appear to allow space for even tiny fingers to get caught up in the mechanism. As the first gear turns, children can see the final gear turn, but they can’t yet see the series of connections that makes that possible. Each turn of the page reveals another gear, until the entire system is exposed. Rhyming couplets explain the process; along the way the gears teach children seven different colors. Day-Glo colors stand out against the black backgrounds. Astute children may notice that the system of gearing corresponds exactly to that visible in the body of the robot.

Sure to get a toddler’s gears turning, in more ways than one. (Board book. 18 mos-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15164-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.


A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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