THE VERY BERRY COUNTING BOOK

Children can learn to count from one to 10 in a berry appetizing way.

This lovely counting book, reminiscent of old-fashioned botanical illustrations, introduces children to a variety of berries. Examples range from the well-known staples, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, and blackberries, through the less-familiar, such as mulberries, salmonberries, and elderberries, to the surprising, such as green grapes and red grapes. Yes, those are berries too. Each berry illustration is set against a soft cream background that further contributes to the antique feel of the book. The number—presented in both numerical and word form—is followed by a simple two-word descriptor of the berry in question: “sour cranberries,” “tasty blackberries,” “plump green grapes,” “tart elderberries.” The color of the text matches its berry. The presentation is deceivingly simple, yet it offers so much: numbers, colors, vocabulary in the form of berry names and adjectives, and, last but not least, art appreciation. Here’s hoping it will also open up appetites and a taste for the simple, healthy pleasures in life.

A simple, elegant book. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-784-6

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books

BIG FISH LITTLE FISH

From the My Little World series

A mix of marine-life fact and fiction introduces opposites.

With its iconic shape, the eye-catching cover cutout of a bright-orange fish is instantly appealing. Layered die cuts of decreasing size provide texture and handholds for little fingers and form the bodies of varying species of fish. Information about fish habits and habitats is crammed into wordy rhymes with the opposing terms in boldface, but the accuracy of those facts is debatable. Though it’s fair to call the eel “long and very wiggly,” contrasting it with a generic, short yellow fish that’s a rhyme-forced “giggly” introduces a jarring anthropomorphism. In fact, stereotypical human emotions or motivations are attributed to the fish on almost every page. On another page, the slow fish (the only fish not painted with a smile) says, “Even with a big head start, I knew I'd finish last”—a distressingly defeatist message in an otherwise cheery board book. Inexplicably, the final spread depicts all the fish in party hats—turning it into a birthday book. While this may extend its use in day cares, it doesn't help young children learn opposites.

A fishy tale that doesn't quite swim in the crowded sea of concept books . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58925-215-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Bound to put a smile on readers’ faces.

THIS IS A BOOK OF SHAPES

As the title says, this is a book of shapes—but with a little touch of whimsy.

A goofy-looking emu on the cover, with wispy feathers in beautiful shades of purple and turquoise, forewarns readers there is more to the book than simple shapes. And it delivers. The first spread presents a wood-grained green circle against a white background and a simple, straightforward statement: “This is a circle.” Next comes a red square and “This is a square.” Next, a blue triangle and “This is a triangle.” Next comes an emu. An emu? The deadpan narration announces, “This is an emu pushing a pancake wagon down the hill.” Readers are now in the know; what other quirky appearances might there be? The book does not disappoint. Interspersed with other basic shapes, a porpoise reading knock-knock jokes and a skateboarding rhinoceros also show up in the same matter-of-fact way. Being in on the joke, children will have no difficulty accepting the juxtaposition of simple shapes and silly animal antics as perfectly sensible. But when a plain pineapple makes an appearance, readers will agree with the author: “What is that doing here?” The final spread shows animals and shapes but no pineapple—after all, it doesn’t belong here—having fun at the beach.

Bound to put a smile on readers’ faces. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0701-9

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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