LOOK WHO'S TALKING

From the Scholastic Early Learners series

This book struggles to do too much at once, and as a result, it buries the illustrations of the signs, arguably the most...

A lift-the-flap and press-the-button board book that includes photographs alongside illustrations of 25 words with baby signs.

Each page in this large-format board book features a different typical baby first word. Beneath the picture of the named object on the flap is the illustration of how to sign it and an additional photograph that depicts a baby with that object. While the photographs of the babies are fairly diverse, the children signing in the illustrations are mostly white. As companion to each page and featured word, the sound buttons accessible at all times to the right of the recto have matching, corresponding pictures and text. Thankfully, these sounds also have an off switch; while they may be of some use in families with very limited English, they also discourage a caregiver’s reading aloud or a child practicing the words. The final two pages cram together 15 small flaps and signs. The larger illustrations and descriptions are much clearer and easier to understand than the tiny versions at the end. It’s not clear how these “baby signs,” as they’re described on the back of the book, relate to the American Sign Language standard.

This book struggles to do too much at once, and as a result, it buries the illustrations of the signs, arguably the most valuable part. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-28396-9

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

THE ABCS OF BLACK HISTORY

A substantive and affirming addition to any collection.

An impressive array of names, events, and concepts from Black history are introduced in this alphabet book for early-elementary readers.

From A for anthem (“a banner of song / that wraps us in hope, lets us know we belong”) to Z for zenith (“the top of that mountain King said we would reach”), this picture book is a journey through episodes, ideas, and personalities that represent a wide range of Black experiences. Some spreads celebrate readers themselves, like B for beautiful (“I’m talking to you!”); others celebrate accomplishments, such as E for explore (Matthew Henson, Mae Jemison), or experiences, like G for the Great Migration. The rhyming verses are light on the tongue, making the reading smooth and soothing. The brightly colored, folk art–style illustrations offer vibrant scenes of historical and contemporary Black life, with common people and famous people represented in turn. Whether reading straight through and poring over each page or flipping about to look at the refreshing scenes full of brown and black faces, readers will feel pride and admiration for the resilience and achievements of Black people and a call to participate in the “unfinished…American tale.” Endnotes clarify terms and figures, and a resource list includes child-friendly books, websites, museums, and poems.

A substantive and affirming addition to any collection. (Informational picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0749-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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

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