Aside from the spinnable color wheel insert at the end of the book, there is little here to hold the attention of even the...

COLORS

From the First Wheels series

Another contribution to the crowded field of big-truck picture books, with a focus on color.

This offering combines an introduction to colors with depictions of a progression of vehicles, two per double-page spread: “red dump truck / red digger // orange digger / orange roller // yellow roller / yellow bulldozer,” and so on through trucks, cement mixers, cars, and vans, coming full circle back to a red dump truck and a red digger. Pink, white, gray, and black join the basic rainbow colors. The vibrant, paper-collaged illustrations are overlaid on plain, brightly colored, contrasting backgrounds; red painted vehicles appear on yellow and blue pages, yellow on tan, purple on yellow. While the images are clear and skillfully constructed, they appear static, belying their intrinsic quality of motion, and resemble a manufacturer’s catalog rather than a children’s picture book. The concept appears to be one of unadorned simplicity. Apart from a smattering of sea gulls, there are no living creatures, and the vehicle cabs look strangely empty. An opportunity to include some interesting, diverse women and men drivers has surely been missed here. Endpapers show a collection of wheels and a repetition of the truck drawings.

Aside from the spinnable color wheel insert at the end of the book, there is little here to hold the attention of even the most digger-crazy toddler. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-84780-742-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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The age-appropriate new vocabulary and the clever design will prompt hours of study by aspiring paleontologists; the sturdy...

DINOBLOCK

From the Block Books series

At a hefty 96 pages and 2 inches thick, this dinofest will be a challenge for little hands to lift, but the subject matter is sure to intrigue for longer than most board books.

“Meet the Dinosaurs” announces the banner across the opening illustration of a museum entrance. Then gatefolds open over 20 inches across with the questions “Who are the dinosaurs? Where are the dinosaurs?” below a museum diorama. Subsequent pages provide the answers using an effective formula: a one-line simile comparing a dinosaur to something a child might recognize, a die-cut page that highlights a characteristic of that dinosaur, then a page turn that reveals the name of the dinosaur and its phonetic pronunciation. The final gatefolds open to reveal the skeletons of each of the 23 dinosaurs introduced. A blonde Caucasian girl and a dark-skinned boy serve as the museum tour guides. Some of the comparisons are rather obscure; the spikes of a stegosaurus are compared to tents on a hill, for instance. The book will raise as many questions as it answers—for example, the dinosaurs are portrayed in varied colors, yet there is no explanation as to how scientists have determined their coloring or other features—paving the way for investigation of the topic in greater detail as readers age.

The age-appropriate new vocabulary and the clever design will prompt hours of study by aspiring paleontologists; the sturdy construction ensures the book will survive them. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1674-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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