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Climb aboard and regulate wiggly minds and bodies.

A little bear compares mindfulness techniques to the sights and sounds of a train station.

Thoughts, emotions, and desires swirl into a child’s mind at a moment’s notice, just like a train rushing into the station. One car has an ice-cream window; another is full of toys! A flatbed carries wishes—like “birthday cake for breakfast.” Spilling out of another are all the “words you wanted to say, / adventures, stories and games you could play.” The cuddly cub doesn’t board the train but instead stays at the station, noticing each car and watching them zoom by. The train whistles and screeches as it arrives but hums a meditative “clickety-clack” as it chugs away. While the rhyming verse is not as regular as that onomatopoeia suggests, the conceit is gracefully and consistently handled: “Wait! The signal lights are flashing: red, yellow, green. / Stop and slow down your breathing machine. // Feel the thumpety-thump of your little heartbeat / from the top of your head to the tips of your feet.” Calming watercolors and delicately inked illustrations match the soothing mood. Katz employs a very clever concept: a metaphor using a favorite childhood obsession—it’s hard to top that. Plus, no baggage (literal or figurative) is needed for this trip. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7-by-15-inch double-page spreads viewed at 77.4% of actual size.)

Climb aboard and regulate wiggly minds and bodies. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61180-791-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bala Kids/Shambhala

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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From the Baby University series

Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed.

This book presents a simplified explanation of the role the atmosphere plays in controlling climate.

The authors present a planet as a ball and its atmosphere as a blanket that envelops the ball. If the blanket is thick, the planet will be hot, as is the case for Venus. If the blanket is thin, the planet is cold, as with Mars. Planet Earth has a blanket that traps “just the right amount of heat.” The authors explain trees, animals, and oceans are part of what makes Earth’s atmosphere “just right.” “But…Uh-oh! People on Earth are changing the blanket!” The book goes on to explain how some human activities are sending “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, thus “making the blanket heavier and thicker” and “making Earth feel unwell.” In the case of a planet feeling unwell, what would the symptoms be? Sea-level rises that lead to erosion, flooding, and island loss, along with extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, blizzards, and wildfires. Ending on a constructive note, the authors name a few of the remedies to “help our Earth before it’s too late!” By using the blanket analogy, alongside simple and clear illustrations, this otherwise complex topic becomes very accessible to young children, though caregivers will need to help with the specialized vocabulary.

Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8082-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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