The pieces are certain to end up scattered far and wide, but in the meantime, they do offer practice matching flora, fauna,...


From the Magnetology series

Forty-five magnetized items stored in a sturdy pocket can be used to fill up six nautical scenes.

The spreads—introducing the shore, beaches, coral reefs, the open ocean, and harbors—are lightly populated already but have been left with plenty of space to add any of the cartoon sea life, boats, water toys, and human workers or vacationers (all generally diverse of age and skin hue) that may fit or seem appropriate. The “Choking Hazard” warning should be taken seriously, particularly as some pieces are barely the size of a fingertip. These pieces will stay in place (absent sudden jars or rough treatment) as pages are raised or turned, and they can also be used to decorate any flat magnetized surface, although even the sailboats and other larger bits are not strong enough to use separately as fridge magnets. A final “Around the Ocean” spread acts as a key of sorts, identifying such nouns as “parrot fish,” “trawler,” and “snack” as well as such activities as “catch crabs” and “float.” It is so scattershot that readers and users may find themselves wondering how they were chosen for identification and not, for instance, “sea gull,” “buoy,” or “jellyfish.”

The pieces are certain to end up scattered far and wide, but in the meantime, they do offer practice matching flora, fauna, and general sights to various oceanic settings and shores. (Novelty. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 979-1-02760-429-6

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed.


From the Baby University series

This book presents a simplified explanation of the role the atmosphere plays in controlling climate.

The authors present a planet as a ball and its atmosphere as a blanket that envelops the ball. If the blanket is thick, the planet will be hot, as is the case for Venus. If the blanket is thin, the planet is cold, as with Mars. Planet Earth has a blanket that traps “just the right amount of heat.” The authors explain trees, animals, and oceans are part of what makes Earth’s atmosphere “just right.” “But…Uh-oh! People on Earth are changing the blanket!” The book goes on to explain how some human activities are sending “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, thus “making the blanket heavier and thicker” and “making Earth feel unwell.” In the case of a planet feeling unwell, what would the symptoms be? Sea-level rises that lead to erosion, flooding, and island loss, along with extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, blizzards, and wildfires. Ending on a constructive note, the authors name a few of the remedies to “help our Earth before it’s too late!” By using the blanket analogy, alongside simple and clear illustrations, this otherwise complex topic becomes very accessible to young children, though caregivers will need to help with the specialized vocabulary.

Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8082-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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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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