While this may illustrate a typical family day, there are lots of blanks that readers (and listeners) will have to fill in...

READ REVIEW

A DAY AT SCHOOL

This French import is a confusing miss for youngsters looking for reassurance on their first days of school.

The end of the holidays means the start of school for a family with three children. With their mother, they go shopping for school supplies and shoes and get haircuts and their pictures taken. On the first day, vignettes show the myriad things the family members do to get ready—shaving, tying shoelaces, squeezing oranges for juice, putting on makeup, brushing teeth, etc. Dad takes the oldest two to school, while Mom drops off the toddler at day care. The pages then follow the three children through their days, but it is difficult to keep track of them among the other, similarly drawn children, especially after they take off their jackets, removing an easy identifier. Single-and double-page spreads alternate with vignettes, which are sometimes labeled like a list, making the pages visually busy. Indeed, with its spareness of text, the story is experienced more through the softly colored illustrations and the body language of the people. The rosy-cheeked children are a nice mix of races and genders (the baby sitter is black), and the scenes are ones that will be universally familiar.

While this may illustrate a typical family day, there are lots of blanks that readers (and listeners) will have to fill in for themselves…maybe too many. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-926973-95-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary.

MY FIRST BUSY BOOK

From the World of Eric Carle series

The latest addition to the World of Eric Carle is proof that the Wilder Award–winning picture-book creator knows what appeals to children.

This board book is both developmentally appropriate and aesthetically pleasing—perfect for toddlers. In a sturdy, oversize (10 1/2 inches square) format, Carle recycles iconic images from his vast canon to introduce shapes, colors, numbers, animals, and sounds. The flower on the cover is almost (but not quite) identical to the flower that grows from The Tiny Seed (1970). Seeing the animals throughout the pages is like recognizing old friends. But Carle and the book’s designer, Hannah Frece, put these familiar images to fresh uses to create a logical, accessible, and harmonious concept book. Although billed as a “busy book,” it is not hyperactive, using just five or six images per spread. From the mirror that lights up the sun on the cover to the touch-and-feel inserts on the page about animals to the single flap that hides a mouse from a cat, the tactile elements have been chosen with intention instead of just as gimmicks. On other pages, foils and textures are subtle, with many barely raised images that invite tracing.

A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5791-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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