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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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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