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



From the Touch and Explore series

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 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design.


From the Mrs. Peanuckle's Alphabet Library series , Vol. 4

From Ant to Zorapteran, each page presents a variety of insects, both commonplace and obscure.

Narrator Mrs. Peanuckle, who enjoys sharing her likes and dislikes and writing about herself in the third person, has penned one to two sentences of quirky description and interesting facts for each insect representing a different letter of the alphabet: “L is for Ladybug / The loveliest of insects. They help Mrs. Peanuckle by eating the bugs on her roses!” The text often takes up most of the page and employs a different typeface per word, thus making the pages difficult to scan—often the featured letter of the alphabet merges with the name of the insect (“Inchworm” looks as though it has two I’s, for example). Ford’s lively insects skitter around the words in luminescent color; as with any effective insect book, there’s just enough detail to provoke interest without an ick-response. The companion book, Mrs. Peanuckle’s Flower Alphabet, presents blooms from Aster to Zinnia, with the same formula but with a more winsome approach to the art; here many of the flowers sport smiling faces in the same bold color palette.

Youngsters will enjoy the playful art if they aren’t overwhelmed by the busy design. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62336-939-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.


From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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