Next book


From the Amazing Machines First Concepts series

Serviceable—nothing more.

The small 5-inch-square trim and the perennially popular vehicle theme will find an audience for this addition to the Amazing Machines First Concepts series.

It recycles images of machines from the earlier, machine-specific titles in the series to illustrate the concept of sound, while its three companions do likewise to cover Numbers, Colors, and Opposites. Parker's illustration style is reminiscent of Richard Scarry's, with anthropomorphic rabbits, mice, possums, and others driving the trucks, trains, boats, planes, and construction equipment. The book encourages interaction, though some of the noises seem too abstract for the toddler audience. It takes a bit of looking to figure out that the hose being used to wash mud off a backhoe makes the “splish, splash” sound or that “glug, glug” could be the sound of a tanker being filled. Each sound is repeated, which makes sense for “choo, choo” and “beep, beep,” but the plane making a “bump, bump” sound gives one pause. The information presented earlier is repeated on a flapped back page, but it is so slight its repetition seems superfluous. However, it is convenient, since most toddlers won't be begging to reread these books from the beginning.

Serviceable—nothing more. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7534-7232-3

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Next book


An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

Next book


From the Look & Learn series

Clear nonfiction for the very young is hard to come by, and it appears that the Look & Learn series may finally be on...

An exploration of the human body through colorful photos.

Every other double-page spread labels the individual parts on one major area: head, torso, back, arm and leg. Ethnically diverse boy-girl pairs serve as models as arrows point to specific features and captions float nearby. While the book usefully mentions rarely depicted body parts, such as eyebrow, armpit and shin, some of the directional arrows are unclear. The arrow pointing at a girl’s shoulder hits her in the upper arm, and the belly button is hard is distinguish from the stomach (both are concealed by shirts). Facts about the human body (“Guess what? You have tiny hairs in your nose that keep out dirt”) appear on alternating spreads along with photos of kids in action. Baby Animals, another title in the Look & Learn series, uses an identical format to introduce readers to seal pups, leopard cubs, elephant calves, ducklings and tadpoles. In both titles, the final spread offers a review of the information and encourages readers to match baby animals to their parents or find body parts on a photo of kids jumping on a trampoline.

Clear nonfiction for the very young is hard to come by, and it appears that the Look & Learn series may finally be on the right track despite earlier titles that were much too conceptual for the audience. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4263-1483-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

Close Quickview