This breezy, warm board book will be a welcome addition to many small humans’ habitats.



A sunny and bright animal-themed picture dictionary for the lap-sit set.

Bring on the herons and toucans; this is indeed a real album of animals! In a welcome change of pace, illustrator Aracil doesn’t stop at the same-old, same-old cat/dog/horse but forges into new zoological territory, introducing moles, boars, marmots, and other lesser-known critters. The animals are attractive in their saturated pastel colors and smudgy style that mimics scribbly crayon coloring. Expressive faces and animated poses, such as a monkey swinging, an octopus inking, or flies circling a cow plop, keep the book light and provide rich opportunities for adult-child conversation. Unlike so many frenetic, overbusy picture dictionaries, the spacious placement of the animals across the full-page spreads establishes a leisurely pace, and having the animals organized into 12 different animal habitats keeps things orderly. Tall, thin type neatly labels the animals, though the few sentences arbitrarily interspersed are strangely generic in comparison to the chipper illustrations. It’s unfortunate that there are no children of color among the kids scattered within the “in the home” and “on the farm” sections. Elegantly designed fabric tabs on the right margin act as a rudimentary index but are even better for tiny fingers to grasp, complementing the already toddler-friendly diminutive trim.

This breezy, warm board book will be a welcome addition to many small humans’ habitats. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 979-1-02760-368-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)


From the DR. Books series

There’s plenty of information and instruction crammed into this 5 ½-inch-square board book.

Hutton starts with the opening lines of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” leaving blanks to indicate where readers should fill in key words. Caregivers of toddlers who do not know the song will need to supply the words until their children are familiar enough with it to play the game. On the third page the tone shifts to conversational questioning, providing a model of dialogic reading. The adult reader speaks directly to the child: “Did you just see a bug? What kind of bug was it?…Was it BIG or small? Inside or outside?” The next six pages continue in that vein, providing information in response to the questions. Pages 11 and 12 refer to the rhyme again: “What’s that spider doing? Yes, it’s climbing! Climbing up a water spout! Climbing up a water spout at Grandpa’s house!” This method of repetition and expansion on an idea is excellent practice for beginning readers, but again, toddlers may need time to adjust. The final spread returns to a question likely to engage toddlers, with no practice necessary: “What’s your favorite kind of bug?” Colorful illustrations in shades of blue, green, and brown are only semirealistic; they emphasize a friendly look instead of a creepy one, potentially disappointing for young entomologists fascinated by the real thing.

For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-936669-80-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A gentle underwater excursion.


From the Hello World! series

An ocean-themed entry in the Hello World series.

A white youngster with long hair sporting a swim mask encourages little ones to “Dive in and take a look!” at ocean life. Each double-page spread presents a different marine animal, including whales, dolphins, sharks, an octopus, a crab and a lobster, sea turtles, fish, and jellyfish. Two or three conversationally conveyed facts of interest are included per double-page spread, one of which is usually in a smaller type and marked with an asterisk for obscure reasons. “What’s that? It’s a sea horse? It can quickly change colors to blend with the background, helping it hide from enemies,” reads the larger text in one representative spread, while the text in the smaller font reads, “A sea horse father carries eggs in a pouch until they are ready to hatch.” A trio of children, all of whom have light complexions, build a sand castle on the beach and collect shells to highlight the wide variety of the latter that can be found. McDonald’s jewel-toned art has the look of watercolor and is appropriately watery and accessible. The final pages allow children to reflect on their favorite ocean animal as the art reviews all the creatures depicted.

A gentle underwater excursion. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-57877-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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