An elegantly executed abecedary.


Learn about various animals and natural features that are part of our “wonderful world.”

Structured to follow the traditional “Aa” is for “acorn” pattern, this spiffy board book takes a trip around the natural world, from ABC favorites such as “butterfly” and “fish” to the lesser-seen “volcano” and then all the way out of our “universe.” Although the theme is overwhelming in its scope (the world after all, is a pretty big place), Hopgood does a commendable job of choosing engaging images. His most effective pages are sweeping landscapes, especially a red-tinged “desert” complete with towering saguaro cacti, an isolated “island” teeming with plants and animals, and a lush double-page “jungle” spread. That’s not to say the pictures of animals aren’t strong—there’s a definite Eric Carle vibe, particularly on the “polar bear”—but it’s illustrations such as an oversized splotchy “moon” with pines standing majestically beneath that truly capture the eye. While the renderings vary in artistic style from letter to letter, Hopgood doesn’t shy away from dramatic, intense colors and lots of stark contrast in his speckled and richly textured illustrations. A functional mirror on letter Y is a highlight, allowing little ones to gaze in at “you.” Occasional pages that contain two letters feel crammed—what could that stylized, graphic “rainbow” have looked like with more space? One human appears, a pale-skinned child admiring the “clouds.”

An elegantly executed abecedary. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-23881-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors.


Gorgeous birds amid foliage of similar hues introduce eight basic colors.

The two birds presented on each spread not only are of similar coloration, but also live in the same North American habitat. A scarlet tanager and a cardinal, both male, perch in a red maple tree; a male Eastern bluebird and a blue jay appear with morning glories and blueberries. The name of each color is printed in large font, while the name of each bird is in a much smaller one. Whether the bird shown is male or female, or if the male and female have similar coloring, is also indicated. The names of the trees they perch upon are identified in a note on the back cover. These details will be lost on most toddlers, but caregivers will appreciate being able to answer questions knowledgeably. Colors featured are from the standard box of crayons, except that pink is substituted for purple. Black and white share a spread. The cover image, of a cardinal, goldfinch, and bluebird in a birdbath, is not nearly as inviting as the images within. The final spread shows children (one white, one black, one Asian) assembling a puzzle that includes the same birds. This may serve as a reprise but will probably be skipped over. Bird-loving readers will probably feel that the space could have been put to better use by giving white birds their own page or adding a purple martin.

Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-742-6

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good.


Storytime gets a kick in the pants with this jaunty combo of shapes and vehicles.

In this look at basic geometry via high-resolution photographs of construction trucks, the youngest of readers are introduced to nine different shapes. Using a seek-and-find format, the book encourages them to locate each shape as it appears on a vehicle, clearly delineated with thick, colorful lines. A clear, red triangle decorates the bed of a dump truck; a blue oval surrounds the barrel of a concrete mixer. The rhyming text names the featured equipment, each shot with crystal clarity outdoors on a variety of beautiful days. From the jaunty little red forklift sporting a rectangle on its side to the rhombus of a road sign snapped at an angle, small fingers will have no difficulty tracing each of the featured shapes again and again. Similar in its cadences to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle (1967), this book is ideal for construction storytimes everywhere. “Road roller / Road roller / Coming through! / I spy a circle— / How about you?” Be sure to sing it to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” if you really want to bring down the house. Activities to further engage young children are included at the end of the book.

Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77278-134-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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