BUGS AND OTHER LITTLE CREATURES

From the Touch and Explore series

Oversized bugs are the center of attention, with body parts and species labelled and a descriptive sentence about the...

Feel a bee’s fuzzy body or marvel at holographic butterfly wings in this tactile board book.

Oversized bugs are the center of attention, with body parts and species labelled and a descriptive sentence about the particular characteristics of each one. The book alternates between spreads introducing one insect per page and in-depth double-page spreads. These double spreads are composed of smaller illustrated squares with factoids about the featured insect’s habitat or life cycle on the verso with magnified insect on the recto. Though the various tidbits are informative and acquaint older children with entomology-related vocabulary, early learners won’t sit through the cumbersome and wordy sentences. Soft-colored digital illustrations strike a nice balance between portraying the creepy-crawlies representationally yet nonthreateningly, although the wasp might remain too realistic for the comfort of many. Tactile elements enrich understanding of bug anatomy, from debossed segments on a grasshopper to a ladybug’s puffy wings, while sparkly papers and prismatic highlights capture an insect’s natural ostentatiousness, allowing a sentence like “the wings on my back are bright and shiny” to be brought to life with blue-green iridescence. Like insects, this book seems doomed by its fragile binding to a short life span, and a sticky (and out of place) earthworm will soon become as dirty as the real thing.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-40800-433-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

LITTLE GENIUS WEATHER

There’s charm in this picture book, but it’s a bit of a wash.

A rhyming introduction to a variety of weather phenomena.

“So how about that weather?” A ubiquitous small-talk topic gets the board-book treatment in this cheerful informational text. Enthusiastic, colorful illustrations are a highlight, and beaming, anthropomorphic kawaii-style weather formations are eye-grabbers. Who doesn’t love a grinning rainbow? Children with various skin tones pictured throughout the book are equally pleasant and include a wheelchair user. If the book is agreeable to look at, it's less so to listen to. The oft-stilted rhymes aren't intuitive, and clunkers like “when a cloud gets dark and heavy with rain it's called a cumulonimbus which is such a funny name” take a few tries to get right when read aloud. Adding insult to injury, the line breaks are sometimes jarring, making the rhyme even more daunting. Most of the main sections contain appropriately digestible bits of introductory information conveyed in a bubbly, enthusiastic tone, with snow described vividly as “raindrops that freeze into crystals.” However, sometimes there is a mismatch between the text and its intended audience. Some topics—seasons, clouds, rain—with their easily visible and experiential elements, seem perfectly suited for toddlers; others, like humidity and hurricanes, are more of a stretch. A “Fun Fact” section discussing matters such as the Earth’s axis and climatology versus meteorology is more appropriate for early-elementary learners. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

There’s charm in this picture book, but it’s a bit of a wash. (Informational board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-953344-47-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Genius Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

HELLO, DINOSAURS!

From the Animal Facts and Flaps series

Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere.

Colorful, fun, and informative guide for pint-sized dinosaur enthusiasts.

Kid-friendly and more informative than most dino books for tots, this lift-the-flap dinosaur book is a great next step for any kid with an interest in the subject. Each double-page panorama—occasionally folding out to three or even four pages wide—is organized around types of dinosaurs or habitats. While most featured dinosaurs are land dwellers, prehistoric reptiles of the sea and sky appear as well. Dinosaurs are rendered in bright colors on a white background in a childlike style that makes even Tyrannosaurus rex not too terrifying. Make no mistake, though; the king of the dinosaurs is clearly labeled “CARNIVORE.” Folding T. rex’s head back reveals a black-and-white handsaw, to which the text likens its enormous, sharp teeth. Another marginal illustration, captioned, “Watch out! T. rex is looking for its lunch,” shows a Triceratops specimen on a plate. Yet another reads, “Crushed dinosaur bones have been found in T. rex poop!” Several racially diverse kids appear in each scene, like toddler scientists variously observing, inspecting, and riding on the dinosaurs depicted. In addition to teaching the difference between herbivores and carnivores, the book also conveys a sense of the scale of these prehistoric beasts: Diplodocus is two school buses long, a Triceratops adult is the size of an elephant, and a Velociraptor is the size of a turkey, for example.

Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0809-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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