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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Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed.


From the Baby University series

This book presents a simplified explanation of the role the atmosphere plays in controlling climate.

The authors present a planet as a ball and its atmosphere as a blanket that envelops the ball. If the blanket is thick, the planet will be hot, as is the case for Venus. If the blanket is thin, the planet is cold, as with Mars. Planet Earth has a blanket that traps “just the right amount of heat.” The authors explain trees, animals, and oceans are part of what makes Earth’s atmosphere “just right.” “But…Uh-oh! People on Earth are changing the blanket!” The book goes on to explain how some human activities are sending “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, thus “making the blanket heavier and thicker” and “making Earth feel unwell.” In the case of a planet feeling unwell, what would the symptoms be? Sea-level rises that lead to erosion, flooding, and island loss, along with extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, blizzards, and wildfires. Ending on a constructive note, the authors name a few of the remedies to “help our Earth before it’s too late!” By using the blanket analogy, alongside simple and clear illustrations, this otherwise complex topic becomes very accessible to young children, though caregivers will need to help with the specialized vocabulary.

Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8082-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A nice addition to this baby-attuned series.


From the Baby Scientist series

In this newest addition to the Baby Scientist series toddlers are introduced to the basics of what a botanist does.

The book starts with a simple and straightforward explanation of its subject matter: “Who studies plants? / Baby Botanist does!” Wearing a white lab coat with yellow polka dots, a brown-skinned child with a purple hair bow holding up its one little curl proceeds to present a number of simply stated and easily understood plant facts. As with the previous books, the illustrations are colorful, uncluttered, and humorously engaging, and baby has a sidekick; this time it is a blue-and-yellow snail. After planting a seed, Baby wonders what plant will grow. The text explains that some plants have roots and some do not, and they might grow on water or underground. In a simple acknowledgment of a healthy diet, the book states “Baby’s favorite foods all come from plants.” Children are also presented with food they may not recognize as coming from plants, such as noodles and chocolate. In the end, the seed that Baby has planted, watered, and kept in the sunlight “grows into a flower for Mama!” and with that comes a big thank-you hug from Mama.

A nice addition to this baby-attuned series. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-284132-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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