Next book


Though challenging to read aloud, it should raise bear awareness for young wildlife enthusiasts.

Humans can play an important role in keeping bears safe by ensuring our food is securely tucked away.

Readers aren’t going to miss the noble, not-so-subtle theme of this educational board book: that humans must “take care or bears will eat your food!” On the left-hand page of each spread, a diverse assemblage of picnickers, campers, and hikers plainly demonstrate various methods of keeping bears away from tempting people-food, including locking up coolers, using bear-safe containers, and appropriately disposing of trash. Safely separated by the gutter, bears on the right-hand page nosh blissfully on insects, acorns, berries, and the like. Bright, almost painterly, full-bleed illustrations pay homage to the lovely scenery both bears and humans are enjoying, and while the illustrations are more cartoony than photorealistic, the bears’ natural poses as they chow down remind readers that these are real animals they are trying to protect. But while this board book clearly introduces safe food storage to little hikers, it’s still a somewhat odd conceit: Children, particularly toddlers, generally don’t plan trips or handle the gear. The text also flags in its read-aloud rhythm. It opens and closes with peppy couplets, but the rhyme disappears abruptly, replaced with a clunky repetitive refrain that feels awkward and unfinished.

Though challenging to read aloud, it should raise bear awareness for young wildlife enthusiasts. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-951179-01-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Yosemite Conservancy

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Next book


A fun, new take on droppings.

Youngsters can learn about where and how various animals, domestic and wild, relieve themselves.

Via a pull-tab embedded in each recto (not, thankfully, in the rectum) readers can see the before and after, and a goldfish in a bowl leaves a trail while swimming. The verso asks each creature where it does its business, and then a (sometimes-forced) rhyming quatrain, translated from Italian, answers the question: “And where do YOU poop, mouse? / When inside my tummy / Starts to feel not so good / It’s time for a poop / On these chips made of wood!” The final double-page spread queries readers: “And where do YOU poop?” A redheaded, White toddler’s face is visible below this question; the pull-tab on the right opens a bathroom to reveal a White toddler, this time with medium brown hair, happily and modestly sitting on a blue toddler potty. The accompanying quatrain provides some developmentally appropriate guidance for feeling the signs of a movement coming on. Baruzzi’s art is droll and graphically clean (inasmuch as the depiction of excrement can be described that way). Little fingers may need some help finding the relatively easy-to-open and sturdy pull-tabs, since they blend into each page. It works as both a biology lesson and potty-training encouragement.  

A fun, new take on droppings. (Novelty board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66265-042-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

Next book



A riff on the familiar lullaby depicts various animal parents, and then a human father, soothing their sleepy little ones.

An opening spread includes the traditional first verse of the titular lullaby, but instead of depicting a human baby in a treetop cradle, the accompanying illustration shows a large tree as habitat to the animals that are highlighted on subsequent pages. First the perspective zooms in on a painterly illustration rendered in acrylics of a mother squirrel cuddling her baby with text reading “Rock-a-bye Squirrel, / high in the tree, / in Mommy’s arms, / cozy as can be.” In this spread and others the cadence doesn’t quite fit with the familiar tune, and repeated verses featuring different animals—all opening with the “Rock-a-bye” line—don’t give way to the resolution. No winds blow, no boughs break, and the repetitive forced rhythm of the verse could cause stumbles when attempting a read-aloud. The final image of a human father and baby, whose skin tone and hair texture suggest that they are perhaps of South Asian descent, provides pleasing visual resolution in a book with art that outshines text.

Ho-hum. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3753-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

Close Quickview