A nice approach to the counting book that does well overall even if its abstract illustrations aren’t a perfect take.

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Dots take on the shapes of animals in this progressive counting board book.

Part guessing game, part counting exercise, this oversized board book with extra-thick pages introduces animals, numerals, and counting to 10. The introductory spread for each number and animal includes a raised, brightly colored numeral alongside its written form. Next to that are a series of dots in the corresponding number. The dots are covered by a solid-colored page with die-cut circles so that a flip of the page reveals what the dots become: Three dots become a heavily stylized duck; five a horse; and nine a snake, for example. The structure invites readers to guess what the dots might become, a playful element for little ones with big imaginations. Deneux’s palette is as important to the illustrations as the dots. Contrasting, deeply saturated colors help give context, as with the glowworm that appears on an entirely black background. Because the animals are made up of dots, they are abstract. This works well for some but not all; many readers may see the 10-dot dinosaur as a green horse, for instance. While this allows readers to interpret what they see, it could also be frustrating that the animals are not all immediately identifiable.

A nice approach to the counting book that does well overall even if its abstract illustrations aren’t a perfect take. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7390-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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More information than toddlers will sit still for; not enough for preschoolers who are outgrowing board books.

MY BODY

From the Hello World! series

An introduction to the body for the youngest readers.

It’s an endlessly fascinating topic, but here it is explained in wordy and needlessly exclamatory detail. On the opening spread three children play: One flies a kite, another plays hopscotch, and a third hangs upside down from a branch while the text explains that “your body can do so many things!” Basic facts about each body part are explained on subsequent spreads—more or less. A spread devoted to the belly button gives no hint to its original purpose. A busy park scene with all the characters and summary text that emphasizes the importance of “Lots of sleep, good food, and plenty of exercise” ends this compendium. McDonald’s attempts to be inclusive don’t quite succeed. A brown-skinned boy playing wheelchair basketball is used to explain arm joints, and there are several other children of color in the book. But on the page about hearing, the brown-skinned tot’s prominent ears and his placement in a tree make him look more like a monkey than a child—an unfortunate association. Many spreads include a question that relates to the topic but could also prove distracting. An additional fact on each spread set in a smaller font is clearly for older children or grown-ups, not toddlers.

More information than toddlers will sit still for; not enough for preschoolers who are outgrowing board books. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6636-8

Page Count: 27

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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