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

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LOOK WHO'S TALKING

From the Scholastic Early Learners series

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. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Genial starter nonfiction.

THE HUMAN BODY

From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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