No frills and to the point yet a nice addition to the young naturalist’s bookshelf.


From the Science for Toddlers series

Little ones can see a tadpole become a frog in this lift-the-flap board book.

Full-page photographs depict the life cycle of a frog. Starting with a photograph of a male and a female frog mating, budding herpetologists can follow as the resulting eggs hatch and tadpoles emerge. Then, in a series of side-by-side flaps of increasing size, readers can see the gradual changes the tadpole undergoes on its way to becoming a frog. On the backside of each flap the text informs readers what the changes are: “Soon, tiny legs start to sprout… / and the tadpole’s tail begins to shrink.” Finally the metamorphosis is complete; after two years the frog is an adult, and it “hop, hop, hops away!” The white text against a purple background is easily read, and it is likewise simply stated yet accurate. The photographs are clear and eye-catching. The last spread introduces the Curator-in-Charge in the Department of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, perhaps inspiring future career choices.

No frills and to the point yet a nice addition to the young naturalist’s bookshelf. (Informational board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2287-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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There are plenty of picture books about colors, but they’re not all love letters. This one is.


Explore colors through photographs.

Detailed in succinct, subtly poetic text, the six core spectrum colors plus black and white each receive two full-bleed double-page spreads in a row. Each color’s initial spread names it and assigns it a verb—“green hops”—across from a checkerboard of many shades of that color, with a photograph replacing one square. For green, that square is a frog photo. Green’s second spread presents text inside a rectangle—“Green grass grows. Green peppers, leaves and peas. Lizards and limes, green eyes”—and varying sizes of rectangular, close-up photos. Neat green borders glue the photo rectangles together, leaving no white space. Other colors follow the same format. The verbs don’t connect to their hues inherently—“blue floats” mightn’t work out of context—but the black girl in the turquoise swimsuit floating blissfully in blue water provides all the sense in the world. Rotner’s photographs are crisp, glowing, and crystal clear, bursting with nature and joy, making daily objects gorgeous. A yellow slicker and a sunny-side up egg positively glisten; an orange sunset almost requires sunglasses. The children (a multiracial cast) vary between facing the camera and doing their own thing, like blowing up a purple balloon or licking an orange Popsicle.

There are plenty of picture books about colors, but they’re not all love letters. This one is. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4063-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Captivating—and not a bit terrifying.


From the Block Books series

Catering to young scientists, naturalists, and Shark Week fans–to-be, this visually arresting volume presents a good deal of information in easily digested bites.

Like others in the Block Books series, this book feels both compact and massive. When closed, it is 5.5 inches across, 6.5 inches tall, and nearly 2 inches thick, weighty and solid, with stiff cardboard pages that boast creative die cuts and numerous fold-out three- and four-panel tableaux. While it’s possible it’s not the only book with a dorsal fin, it certainly must be among the best. The multiracial cast of aquarium visitors includes a Sikh man with his kids and a man of color who uses a wheelchair; there they discover the dramatic degree of variations among sharks. The book begins with a trip to a shark exhibit, complete with a megalodon jaw. The text points out that there are over 400 known types of sharks alive today, then introduces 18 examples, including huge whale sharks, tiny pocket sharks, and stealthy, well-camouflaged wobbegongs. Reef sharks prowl the warm waters of the surface, while sand tiger sharks explore shipwrecks on the ocean floor. Bioluminescent catsharks reside at the bottom of an inky black flap that folds down, signifying the deepest ocean depths, where no sunlight penetrates. Great whites get star treatment with four consecutive two-page spreads; their teeth and appetite impress but don’t horrify. The book does a wonderful job of highlighting the interconnectedness of species and the importance of environmental stewardship.

Captivating—and not a bit terrifying. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4119-7

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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