Sure to fire imaginations and inspire questions caregivers may struggle good-naturedly to answer.

ASTRO KITTENS

INTO THE UNKNOWN

From the Professor Astro Cat series

Once dinosaurs have begun to seem passé, space is the place for many toddlers, and the Astro Kittens are excellent guides.

Together with  Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines, its companion volume in this spinoff of the Professor Astro Cat series, this board book promises to present “advanced scientific theories through fun and engaging artwork”—and manages to do so without talking down to children. Both books are information-dense, but, for the most part, ideas are introduced in manageable bites. Concepts covered include rockets, traveling at light speed, wormholes, suspended animation, and the possibility of “alien life forms.” Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines introduces telescopes (including the Hubble Space Telescope), the International Space Station, and even the “ideal rocket equation,” derived from “Newton’s second law of motion,” which few caregivers will able to verbalize unless they’re also astrophysicists! Explaining wormholes to little ones will seem like child’s play by comparison. All of this would seem too much if not for the adorable Astro Kittens and the kid-friendly artwork and the inviting, “just imagine” tone of the writing. Each idea is presented with two easily digested statements and an annotated illustration explaining rocket or satellite parts, historical facts about space exploration, and the like. The adventurous Astro Kittens clearly love their work, and they seem equally at home piloting spacecraft, spacewalking, or floating in zero gravity.

Sure to fire imaginations and inspire questions caregivers may struggle good-naturedly to answer. (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912497-27-0

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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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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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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