Those who relish an eclectic vibe will fall for this odd offering.

MR. BEAR'S ABC

Explore a quirky collection of creatures and things in this ABC book with a decidedly retro feel.

With an aesthetic reminiscent of 1951’s The Little Golden ABC, French author/illustrator Aracil presents a throwback abecedary infused with modern hipness. A blocky, oversized uppercase letter dominates the verso with a trio of smaller letters beneath: lowercase block, as well as upper- and lowercase cursive, though does the ABC set really need familiarity with cursive? Three small Day-Glo bears inconsistently peek out from most large letters; their emotionless, mouthless faces border on disconcerting. The unexpected continues on the recto: While there’s the familiar “ant” and “alligator” among the assortment of “A” objects, the distinctly unusual choice “ax” also appears. Elsewhere, “Ulysses” (the Greek hero) and “Yeti” (munching a selection of Day-Glo popsicles, naturally) also make appearances. “P” epitomizes this sauciness, with its small boy (back to) and his golden stream. Adult readers who smirk at this tongue-in-cheek humor are likely to love this book; if not, move on. The illustration styles vary wildly, from smooth-edged funky vintage “cars” to a “fox” rendered in wild, brushy style. Animals both anthropomorphized (a “rhino” holding a “racket”) and untamed (a roaring “jaguar”) share a sense of swanky flamboyance, accented by those Day-Glo highlights. The dazzling orange binding and the extra-tall trim will surely lure little eyes.

Those who relish an eclectic vibe will fall for this odd offering. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-74709-500-6

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind.

BABIES AROUND THE WORLD

Ten babies in 10 countries greet friends in almost 10 languages.

Countries of origin are subtly identified. For example, on the first spread, NYC is emblazoned on a blond, white baby’s hat as well as a brown baby’s scoot-car taxi. On the next spread, “Mexico City” is written on a light brown toddler’s bike. A flag in each illustration provides another hint. However, the languages are not named, so on first reading, the fine but important differences between Spanish and Portuguese are easily missed. This is also a problem on pages showing transliterated Arabic from Cairo and Afrikaans from Cape Town. Similarly, Chinese and Japanese are transliterated, without use of traditional hànzì or kanji characters. British English is treated as a separate language, though it is, after all, still English. French (spoken by 67 million people) is included, but German, Russian, and Hindi (spoken by 101 million, 145 million, and 370 million respectively) are not. English translations are included in a slightly smaller font. This world survey comes full circle, ending in San Francisco with a beige baby sleeping in an equally beige parent’s arms. The message of diversity is reinforced by images of three babies—one light brown, one medium brown, one white—in windows on the final spread.

A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-938093-87-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Duo Press

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A playful introduction to the body parts.

I WANT AN APPLE

HOW MY BODY WORKS

An unnamed protagonist is hungry—and all they want is an apple.

But how will they get one? The answer, they realize, is clear: They’ll have to use all the different parts of their body to help them get to the apple. First, they use their brain to locate where the fruit might be in the house. Then, they use their legs and feet to wander around the house, looking for where the apple might be. Next, they beseech their heart to keep pumping blood through their body to keep them going, then use their nose to try and sniff out the mysterious apple’s whereabouts. They then deploy eyes, arms, and fingers to find and pick up the apple; their five senses—along with their teeth—enable the kid to enjoy the crunchy fruit. By the time they’ve eaten the apple, the child has used—and celebrated—some of the most important parts of their body. The book ends with the child appreciating and loving the body that allows them to do so much. The illustrations are whimsical and full of movement, the narrator a trademark Catrow kewpie, with brown skin, glasses, and straight, black hair in three pigtails. The storyline mostly consists of naming different body parts and their functions, making this book most appropriate for very young readers. However, the message about body positivity will resonate with all ages. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A playful introduction to the body parts. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4104-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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