An appropriately bright and brief introduction, probably better for younger preschoolers than toddlers.

SAN FRANCISCO

From the My Little Cities series

Tour around San Francisco in this most recent entry in the My Little Cities series; follow a young, brown-skinned child with a baseball cap and their adult as they visit iconic landmarks.

Each double-page spread shows text on the recto and an illustration on the verso. The simple text consists of rhyming couplets portraying mainly opposites in the City by the Bay: “Travel high / travel low” show them at the Golden Gate Bridge and in the San Francisco Bay Ferry in front of Alcatraz Island, respectively, while “Stop to eat / and stop to play” show them eating ice cream with the sea lions at Pier 39 and then flying a kite at the Cliff House. Simple digital collage illustrations in bright colors show them all around the city at such top attractions as Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies, and the cable cars. The diversity of the city is well-represented by smiling people, round-headed with round noses and skin of various different shades of brown. The author embraces San Francisco as a “city of parades and protest,” illustrating “Lights at night / flags in day” with the Chinese New Year parade and then a varied group of people with the letters LOVE and a rainbow flag in front of City Hall. On the final spread are brief details on the 10 landmarks featured, useful for all ages. The companion title Paris, with a similar format, features the same child and adult enjoying the City of Light.

An appropriately bright and brief introduction, probably better for younger preschoolers than toddlers. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5391-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual...

RAPUNZEL

From the Once Upon a World series

A retelling of the classic fairy tale with India as its setting.

This latest addition to the Once Upon A World series tells the well-known story of the maiden with beautiful long tresses locked away in a tower by an evil witch and the prince who falls in love with her. As with Perkins’ Cinderella (illustrated by Sandra Equihua, 2016) and Snow White (illustrated by Misa Saburi, 2016), the text has been simplified for a younger audience, and the distinguishing twist here is its setting in India. The mixed-media illustrations of plants, animals, village life, and, of course, Rapunzel, the witch, and the prince come alive in warm, saturated colors. Other than the visuals, there is little to differentiate the story from traditional tellings. As always, it is still the prince who will eventually lead Rapunzel to her salvation by taking her to his kingdom far away from the witch, but that is the nature of fairy tales. The only quibble with this book and indeed with this series is the board-book format. Given the fact that the audience most likely to enjoy it is beyond the board-book age, a full-size book would have done more justice to the vibrant artwork.

Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual delights in this one, though they’ll wish it were bigger. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9072-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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ALSO AN ANIMAL

In rhyming verse, a series of “if…then” statements presents animals and their young while expressing parental love.

Unfortunately, the slight concept is brought down by a number of missteps. The first is poor logic, evident from the opening parent-child animal pair: “If you were a calf, then I’d be a moose.” While it is true that baby moose are called calves, they are hardly the only animals whose young bear that moniker. Even children with very little exposure to the concept will likely know that baby cattle are also called calves, and they may well know that elephant and whale babies are called calves as well. So why, if they were a calf, would their parent necessarily be a moose? Several other examples share this weakness, including chicks (loons), kits (skunks), and pups (bats)—and these are just in the first two double-page spreads. Even when the name for the baby is sufficiently restrictive for the logic to work, stumbling verse often lets readers down: “If you were a cygnet, then I’d be a swan. / I’d teach you to ride on my back, just hop on!” Saylor’s cut-paper–collage illustrations are bright and attractive, depicting smiling but otherwise fairly realistic animal pairs. They replicate a frequent error, however, in representing a wasps’ nest instead of the beehive it’s meant to be (possibly wisely, there is no attempt to depict the “larva” of the verse).

Misses the mark . (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-746-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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