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From the Tiny Travelers series

An attractive book marred by factual mistakes.

In this new addition to the Tiny Travelers series, young readers learn a few facts about Colombia.

Following the same format as previous books in the series, the book begins with a map of the country adorned with objects readers are asked to look for on subsequent pages. Busy and brightly colored illustrations depict each locale with a cast of racially diverse children. Readers travel to Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Ciudad Perdida on the northern Caribbean Coast; pass through Bahía Solano on the Pacific Coast and down to the Amazon region in the south; visit the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Manizales in the Andes; and see natural wonders, such as the Tatacoa Desert and Caño Cristales. In each locale a small fact is given, and a “Did You Know?” section provides more details. Words in Spanish are in bold print. Unfortunately, a few facts are wrong. Contrary to what is stated, Bogotá is not in a valley and is not surrounded by mountains. (Mountains border its eastern edge, and the land opens up to a vast plateau known as the Bogotá savanna.) Caño Cristales is not called “the River of Seven Colors” but “the River of Five Colors.” (This review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An attractive book marred by factual mistakes. (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-945635-80-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Encantos

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Buy this book when, as the Spanish say, “frogs grow hair!” (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Kids from different countries introduce idioms.

On the title-page spread, a child with dark brown skin and black curly hair says: “Do you see the dragon?” Another kid, with pinkish skin and straight orange hair, says: “Dragon? What dragon? I’ll believe you…” and the turn reveals a double-page spread with enormous, flying pink porcine creatures and the words “…when pigs fly!” A bucolic, woodland scene is the backdrop, and lettering on a tree indicates “United Kingdom.” The pattern continues as other, diverse children join the first, black child in the same wooded scene, newly named animals and trees with different labels offering a variety. The humorous expressions of disbelief include “…when crows fly upside down!” from the Malayali people of India; “…when the lobster whistles on top of the mountain!” from Russia; and “when chickens have teeth!” from the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The cartoons are stylized but mostly recognizable and usually humorous. The author’s note informs readers that idioms’ “meanings come from the speaking patterns of the time or culture that coined them” but provides no specific information about the 11 selected; only four are from non-European languages. Endpaper maps help orient readers geographically, and on the rear, the sayings are printed in the original languages, all in roman letters even when the original language uses a different alphabet or script.

Buy this book when, as the Spanish say, “frogs grow hair!” (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-911373-49-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lantana

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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From the Baby Loves… series

A straightforward and lively introduction to the democratic process for readers older than babies.

Baby learns about the elections in this latest entry to the Baby Loves… series.

A toddler with light-brown skin works with her white mommy to color signs and put stamps on postcards to get out the vote, and she cheers Mommy on when she “puts the ballot into the machine.” Along the way, Baby explores key aspects of the political process with her white mom and another, brown-skinned caregiver, such as campaigning, candidates, and the different types of political leaders. It is a simplified and rosy picture of American democracy, asserting confidently that the “candidate with the most votes wins,” and political opponents “can still be friends” after an election. The art is a toddler-centric, idealized world in a bold, bright cartoon style featuring political candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. There is a female-presenting president, a black, male-presenting vice president, a brown-skinned, hijabi senator, and a white, male-presenting representative who uses a wheelchair. While the explanations, imagery, and suggested activities are spot-on for older preschoolers, the format and the “baby” label make the content developmentally inappropriate for the target audience of babies and toddlers. Little ones still learning to label things in their homes and their neighborhoods will be hard-pressed to understand the basics of civic engagement.

A straightforward and lively introduction to the democratic process for readers older than babies. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62354-227-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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