Despite a few foibles, it is a playful choice for toddlers.

COLORS

This French import is a matching game with sliding panels and scenes to play I Spy and other suggested activities.

Each verso presents a busy, colorful scene with animals engaged in human activities around a common theme, with such caption labels as “Vroom” (ground vehicles) or “At the Market.” The recto pages feature eight rectangular, easy-to-move sliding panels with one object depicted in four differently colored pairs. Little ones are encouraged to try four different activities with a caregiver: “Find a Pair” (a memory game with the sliding panels), “Look and Find” (a search in the larger scene for the object that’s pictured under the sliding panels), “Time to Hide” (hiding pairs of objects by sliding the panels one color at a time), and “I Spy” (naming objects of a particular color). While Mathy’s art is whimsically simplified and rendered in muted bold colors, some objects may be difficult for youngsters to name either due to their stylized depictions or readers’ unfamiliarity with them; the “spring riders” and the “spinner” (or merry-go-round) on the “At the Park” double-page spread, for instance, may be unfamiliar due to their scarcity on North American playgrounds. There is a wider array of color choices than in many color concept books, including beige, turquoise, and hot pink.

Despite a few foibles, it is a playful choice for toddlers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-40801-614-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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More tribute than tour, but diapered viewers, Bronxers or not, will respond to the bright colors and faces.

BRONXTONES

A photographer born and resident in the Bronx offers glimpses of his borough’s places and people.

Rivera styles himself “The Bronxer” on his website and social media. Though only some of the captions (“Bruckner Orange,” “174th Violet”) place his eight sunny but generic outdoor scenes in any specific locale, still the cute young children of color in most of them supply plenty of charisma. In a bilingual narrative on each recto, equally generic English lines over Spanish highlight colors in the facing photo with changes of hue: “We buy tamales from the green cart. / Compramos tamales del carrito verde.” An intrusive white Polaroid-style frame collaged into each photo serves no evident purpose beyond framing one element of the composition and supplying a place for a caption, brand emblem, and an ID number. This gives this board-book minigallery a commercial feel…but it’s never a bad thing to celebrate the fact that there’s more to New York City’s northerly reaches than a zoo and a baseball stadium.

More tribute than tour, but diapered viewers, Bronxers or not, will respond to the bright colors and faces. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11078-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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You can count on this one to be a bland yet passable learning tool.

MY FIRST NUMBERS

Insects and animals help readers count from one through 10.

In this number-focused board book, each themed double-page spread invites readers to practice counting. A cartoon puppy looks down at a scattering of bones, for example, and declares, “I can count NINE bones,” on the left-hand side of one such layout; over the gutter, there is a stock photograph of nine tennis balls and a large 9 along with text inviting readers to count. Each turn of the page follows this pattern, progressing by one number higher. The format is familiar and formulaic, conventional and utilitarian. That said, it serves its purpose of presenting new learners with a clear and recognizable tool for number recognition and counting practice. The cartoons have the impersonal look of clip art, and the photographs presented against a stark white background are simple and repetitive. The number five page, for example, shows five identical turtles as opposed to five different turtles or one turtle in five different positions or environments, a missed opportunity for visual interest. In contrast, companion title My First Colors introduces a color and then shows photographs of different items in that color, displaying more illustrative depth but following the same predictable format. While neither of these books does anything groundbreaking, they do a competent job of presenting these timeless concepts for pre-readers.

You can count on this one to be a bland yet passable learning tool. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4413-3308-7

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Peter Pauper Press

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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