The importance of the STEM fields in our world cannot be overstated. But the importance of understanding early childhood...

ROCKET SCIENCE FOR BABIES

From the Baby University series

Another board book attempts to communicate complex scientific ideas to very young children.

This book and its companions, all aimed at very young children, presume the intended audience is familiar with conventional symbols to convey information, as all the explanations are made visually by means of arrows that indicate airflow. It stretches the imagination to believe toddlers will follow explanations delivered that way. Even more baffling is the assumption that toddlers have in their vocabulary arsenal words such as “flow,” “angle,” “deflect,” “lift,” and “thrust.” Further complicating the attempt is the oversimplification necessary to communicate to youngsters. Boiling concepts down to such statements as “This ship is full of fuel. / If the fuel goes out, // the ship goes forward” perhaps ought to have indicated the futility of this particular effort. In companion General Relativity, there is a page with horizontal and vertical lines forming a grid. Many toddlers might identify this as a piece of mosquito netting, but they would be wrong, as it is in fact “flat space.” Later they will also find out that “Mass drags space.” And “Space drags mass.” The explanations in Newtonian Physics and Quantum Physics are no better. Adults wishing to introduce children to the laws of physics will be more effective—and have more fun—playing with blocks, making waves in the bathtub, and launching paper planes into the air.

The importance of the STEM fields in our world cannot be overstated. But the importance of understanding early childhood development when writing for preschoolers cannot be overstated either. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5625-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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Genial starter nonfiction.

THE HUMAN BODY

From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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