For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)


From the DR. Books series

There’s plenty of information and instruction crammed into this 5 ½-inch-square board book.

Hutton starts with the opening lines of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” leaving blanks to indicate where readers should fill in key words. Caregivers of toddlers who do not know the song will need to supply the words until their children are familiar enough with it to play the game. On the third page the tone shifts to conversational questioning, providing a model of dialogic reading. The adult reader speaks directly to the child: “Did you just see a bug? What kind of bug was it?…Was it BIG or small? Inside or outside?” The next six pages continue in that vein, providing information in response to the questions. Pages 11 and 12 refer to the rhyme again: “What’s that spider doing? Yes, it’s climbing! Climbing up a water spout! Climbing up a water spout at Grandpa’s house!” This method of repetition and expansion on an idea is excellent practice for beginning readers, but again, toddlers may need time to adjust. The final spread returns to a question likely to engage toddlers, with no practice necessary: “What’s your favorite kind of bug?” Colorful illustrations in shades of blue, green, and brown are only semirealistic; they emphasize a friendly look instead of a creepy one, potentially disappointing for young entomologists fascinated by the real thing.

For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-936669-80-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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With its companion, a vibrantly illustrated, expertly written offering for young animal lovers.


From the Hello World! series

Learn about domestic animals in the latest addition to McDonald’s Hello World! series.

Whether they are wild or domesticated, animals are fascinating creatures. In this cheery outing, McDonald introduces young readers to a variety of animals that live with humans, including rabbits, cats, frogs, and dogs. Companion title Arctic Animals, on the other hand, focuses on the wild and wonderful creatures that live in the world’s coldest, northernmost region, including polar bears, narwhals, snowy owls, and puffins. McDonald’s talent for curating relevant, fascinating, and child-friendly facts is fully on display in both of these volumes. Both books focus mostly on the physical characteristics of the animals and birds, pairing the descriptions with textured, collage-style illustrations that also enliven the type, particularly in cases of onomatopoeia. Arctic Animals simply and clearly introduces concepts like hibernation and camouflage while Pets provides a bit of specific information about how to care for the animals depicted. It also includes questions on each two-page spread that invite children to participate in the storytelling by moving their bodies like the pets they are reading about: Readers are asked to “twitch” their noses like rabbits, “stretch” like cats, and “hop” like frogs. Both books are excellent choices for budding naturalists, zookeepers, veterinarians, and pet owners.

With its companion, a vibrantly illustrated, expertly written offering for young animal lovers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64759-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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You can count on this one to be a bland yet passable learning tool.


Insects and animals help readers count from one through 10.

In this number-focused board book, each themed double-page spread invites readers to practice counting. A cartoon puppy looks down at a scattering of bones, for example, and declares, “I can count NINE bones,” on the left-hand side of one such layout; over the gutter, there is a stock photograph of nine tennis balls and a large 9 along with text inviting readers to count. Each turn of the page follows this pattern, progressing by one number higher. The format is familiar and formulaic, conventional and utilitarian. That said, it serves its purpose of presenting new learners with a clear and recognizable tool for number recognition and counting practice. The cartoons have the impersonal look of clip art, and the photographs presented against a stark white background are simple and repetitive. The number five page, for example, shows five identical turtles as opposed to five different turtles or one turtle in five different positions or environments, a missed opportunity for visual interest. In contrast, companion title My First Colors introduces a color and then shows photographs of different items in that color, displaying more illustrative depth but following the same predictable format. While neither of these books does anything groundbreaking, they do a competent job of presenting these timeless concepts for pre-readers.

You can count on this one to be a bland yet passable learning tool. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4413-3308-7

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Peter Pauper Press

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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