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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A book for car-loving kids.


A concept book about many kinds of vehicles.

Simple, first-person text translated from Dutch and delivered by a child, is divided into four sections: “Want to come for a ride?”; “Want to help?”; “Want to get some work done?”; and “Want to race along?” In all but the final section, which has but two race cars, the child introduces several kinds of vehicles, one per double-page spread, as racially diverse, unnamed characters interact with them. The “work” section includes a tractor, garbage truck, street sweeper, bulldozer, excavator, dump truck, and crane truck. The brief “help” section includes an ambulance, police car, police van, fire engine, and a tow truck. The lengthy, first section about “a ride” isn’t so straightforward and includes a car, bus, jeep, camper, ice cream truck, moving van, delivery van, limousine, semi truck, tanker, and car transporter. Those listed after the camper in the first section aren’t vehicles that the child rides in, and many readers might feel they’d be more appropriately located in the working-vehicle section. There is no story to follow, but bright, boldly colored illustrations with thick outlines and cheery characters match the direct text’s style and evoke the feel of Lucy Cousins’ work. The narrator has a perfectly round face, pink skin, and dark hair.

A book for car-loving kids. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-399-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Whether readers are zoologists in the making or just fans of our animal friends, this book and its companion are sure to...


From the Animal Families series

Arresting design, simple and useful content, and animal parents and babies: What’s not to like?

Together with Farm, its simultaneously publishing companion in the Animal Families series, this book is exquisite. The eye-popping neon colors and uncluttered, expressive, screen-printed artwork alone make both books worth the price of admission, but the entire presentation hits all the right notes. Each two-page spread is devoted to a species of animal. The “daddy,” with proper nomenclature, appears on verso, “mommy,” with her appropriate term, on recto. The flap upon which “mommy” appears opens, revealing their young along with the proper term for babies of that species: “A daddy peafowl is called a peacock. / A mommy peafowl is called a peahen. Baby peafowl are called… / peachicks!” Each book features four species; the final spread has flaps on both sides that open up to reveal the four animal families depicted and the collective terms for families of each species: in the case of the jungle dwellers, a “memory” of elephants, an “embarrassment” of pandas, a “pride” of peafowl, and an "ambush" of tigers, for example. Farm features sheep, donkeys, chickens, and pigs. Kids will learn to tell jacks from jennys, rams from ewes, and foals from lambs, chicks, and piglets. Opening the flaps adds yet another level of interest for curious—and grabby—tots.

Whether readers are zoologists in the making or just fans of our animal friends, this book and its companion are sure to please. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0831-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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