An innovative approach to teaching children about ecosystems and life cycles.

WHOSE BABY IS THIS?

Some babies look like their parents—but some do not!

In this fetchingly illustrated, slide-the-tab book from France, young readers learn about insects, birds, and animals that inhabit a range of familiar ecosystems, including ponds, forests, meadows, and mountains. On each page, children slide a tab with a labeled picture of a creature early in its life cycle to reveal what the creature will look like as an adult. Babin includes a variety of intuitive choices, such as otters and their pups, as well as less predictable pairs like tadpoles and frogs and dragonflies and larvae. (The “kid” that grows into a “sheep” may raise eyebrows.) The text is cleverly integrated into illustrations of animals, insects, and birds in their habitats and is rendered in the first person, implying that each creature is speaking directly to readers about its habitat, feeding habits, and life cycle. A baby otter, for example, says that it is a good swimmer like its mother; a caterpillar says that when it gets older it will grow wings. Each two-page spread is packed with facts that are perfect for very young naturalists. The use of baby animals as narrators combined with the slide-the-tab design makes this book incredibly inviting to young readers, although the lack of narrative structure may make it challenging for group read-alouds.

An innovative approach to teaching children about ecosystems and life cycles. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-2-408-02389-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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ROCK-A-BYE BABY

A riff on the familiar lullaby depicts various animal parents, and then a human father, soothing their sleepy little ones.

An opening spread includes the traditional first verse of the titular lullaby, but instead of depicting a human baby in a treetop cradle, the accompanying illustration shows a large tree as habitat to the animals that are highlighted on subsequent pages. First the perspective zooms in on a painterly illustration rendered in acrylics of a mother squirrel cuddling her baby with text reading “Rock-a-bye Squirrel, / high in the tree, / in Mommy’s arms, / cozy as can be.” In this spread and others the cadence doesn’t quite fit with the familiar tune, and repeated verses featuring different animals—all opening with the “Rock-a-bye” line—don’t give way to the resolution. No winds blow, no boughs break, and the repetitive forced rhythm of the verse could cause stumbles when attempting a read-aloud. The final image of a human father and baby, whose skin tone and hair texture suggest that they are perhaps of South Asian descent, provides pleasing visual resolution in a book with art that outshines text.

Ho-hum. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3753-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors.

BABY'S FIRST BOOK OF BIRDS & COLORS

Gorgeous birds amid foliage of similar hues introduce eight basic colors.

The two birds presented on each spread not only are of similar coloration, but also live in the same North American habitat. A scarlet tanager and a cardinal, both male, perch in a red maple tree; a male Eastern bluebird and a blue jay appear with morning glories and blueberries. The name of each color is printed in large font, while the name of each bird is in a much smaller one. Whether the bird shown is male or female, or if the male and female have similar coloring, is also indicated. The names of the trees they perch upon are identified in a note on the back cover. These details will be lost on most toddlers, but caregivers will appreciate being able to answer questions knowledgeably. Colors featured are from the standard box of crayons, except that pink is substituted for purple. Black and white share a spread. The cover image, of a cardinal, goldfinch, and bluebird in a birdbath, is not nearly as inviting as the images within. The final spread shows children (one white, one black, one Asian) assembling a puzzle that includes the same birds. This may serve as a reprise but will probably be skipped over. Bird-loving readers will probably feel that the space could have been put to better use by giving white birds their own page or adding a purple martin.

Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-742-6

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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