With demand for STEM-themed books for toddlers at an all-time high, this will undoubtedly prove popular with both ends of...

ROBOT SMASH!

The title sums it up: This mechanical man is a total wrecking machine.

Anything is fair game for the spherical hands that carry out this automaton’s single-minded mission—petunias, toilets, Brussels sprouts and (presumably included for adults) “All-talk radio.” At the culmination of his rampage, scores flash on the page, as in a video game. Solon’s designs are intentionally pixelated, so that nearly every shape has a zigzag contour, appropriate for his subject. The look lends energy and a sense of movement to the robot as he crashes his way against solid, changing background colors. He is accompanied by a spare—but bold and exclamatory—text. (Warning: Repeated readings may lead to an enthusiastic young listener’s first spoken or sight word being “SMASH!”) The protagonist’s life changes when he catches sight of a gigantic, purple robot destroying skyscrapers and automobiles. It is love at first sight for the twosome: Her thought bubble displays the proverbial baby carriage; his depicts a shared meal. Although the method that “Super-SMASHY girl robot” chooses to show affection gives new meaning to the term “crush,” the two appear to be made for each other. They definitely have a lot in common.

With demand for STEM-themed books for toddlers at an all-time high, this will undoubtedly prove popular with both ends of its intended audience. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-067-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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UMBRELLA

Momo longed to carry the blue umbrella and wear the bright red rubber boots she had been given on her third birthday. But day after day Indian summer continued. Momo tried to tell mother she needed to carry the umbrella to nursery school because the sunshine bothered her eyes. But Mother didn't let her use the umbrella then or when she said the wind bothered her. At last, though, rain fell on the city pavements and Momo carried her umbrella and wore her red boots to school. One feels the urgency of Momo's wish. The pictures are full of the city's moods and the child's joy in a rainy day.

Pub Date: March 1, 1958

ISBN: 978-0-14-050240-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1958

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