Repeated perusals will have readers proclaiming it’s grrrrr-eat.

MOST OF THE BETTER NATURAL THINGS IN THE WORLD

An artistic envisioning of a list poem, of sorts, about place.

With the exception of two double-page spreads reading “CLOUD FOREST” and “ALPINE LAKE,” Eggers’ text consists of single words on successive spreads, each one naming a geographic feature. Chang’s lush illustrations place a white, bipedal tiger in each setting, a yellow chair lashed to its back as it travels left to right with the page turns. There’s a dreamlike quality to the scenes as the intrepid tiger traverses, among other places, a gorge, a fjord, an atoll, an estuary, and a lagoon. At the center of the book, a dramatic double-gatefold spread presents (what else?) a “VISTA.” But where is the tiger going? And what is the chair’s purpose? Readers’ interest will be sustained by these looming questions and by deft shifts of visual perspective offered in the illustrations. The reward is an instance of clever wordplay in a concluding spread that shows the tiger arriving at a “TAIGA” (which, along with the other geographic terms, is defined in a backmatter glossary). Amid this “swampy forest...found in the northern parts of the globe,” a tiger family sits around a table set for a meal, with an empty place awaiting the tiger who’s traveled so far.

Repeated perusals will have readers proclaiming it’s grrrrr-eat. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6282-9

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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