Published in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, this book is its own little work of art.

A PILE OF LEAVES

An art book, an autumn book, a discover-the-world-around-you book, all rolled into one.

As the book starts, young readers are told, “A pile of leaves is like a collage. Each layer adds something new and hides something underneath.” When children turn to the next page they’re in for a delightful surprise. Indeed there is a pile of leaves, but what a pile of leaves it is! A series of board-framed acetate pages makes up the pile. Each see-through page has an image or two on it. As children uncover the layers by turning the pages, they encounter different kinds of leaves, an acorn, ants, a grasshopper, a worm, a mitten, and someone’s lost key. As the pile on the recto gets deconstructed, the pile on the verso builds up in reverse. Some children may be inspired to tuck in their own little additions to the pile. What a wonderful way to invite children to explore not just this book, but also the world around them, where so many simple treasures hide in plain sight. For those curious to know the names of the different leaf types, bugs, and objects in the leaf pile, the last double-page spread identifies each.

Published in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, this book is its own little work of art. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7720-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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It’s all very obvious, but there’s no harm in harping on kindness.

ABCS OF KINDNESS

A HIGHLIGHTS BOOK ABOUT KINDNESS

An alphabet book featuring different ways to be kind.

This oversized board book takes a walk through the alphabet and hits on most of the obvious ways in which children can be kind to one another, themselves, and the planet. Berger’s simple text includes both small acts, like “Brightening someone’s day with a smile,” and larger ones, such as “Standing up for someone when no one else will.” The text is direct, without any poetry or flourish, so it reads a bit like an encyclopedia. The acts of kindness feel attainable for young readers, and Trukhan’s illustrations offer practical examples: One child gives up their spot in line for the slide; another makes room at the lunch table. Trukhan’s illustrations are reminiscent of Byron Barton’s, featuring bold, block colors and geometric foundations. The book is inclusive of people with many different skin and hair colors, and it also depicts one child with a cochlear implant and another who walks with forearm crutches. Trukhan’s companion title, Kindess Counts 123, with text by R.A. Strong, echoes both this title’s theme and its inclusivity. While none of the content in either book is particularly revelatory, it is still meaningful and nicely presented.

It’s all very obvious, but there’s no harm in harping on kindness. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-651-3

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Highlights Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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