From amphibians to earthworms, there’s plenty here to foster an interest in the natural world.

EXPLORE THE MEADOW

From the Curious Kids series

Age-appropriate science in an appealing pop-up format.

This book conveys a surprising amount of information through clear and easily digested statements and clever, eye-catching pop-up designs. The book is presented in a series of two-page tableaux organized by topic: “Little Life Forms,” “Caterpillars/Butterflies,” “Frogs,” “Spiders,” “Bees,” “Creepy Crawlies,” “Ants,” and “At Night.” The artwork is representational rather than realistic, with the various bugs, frogs, and other creatures mildly anthropomorphized, with big, happy faces and friendly smiles. The three-dimensional pop-up aspect of the book is a key central feature, adding greatly to the fun. A tree in the middle of the first spread pops out at readers; within holes at its midsection and by the roots they see a sleeping owl and a baby mole, respectively. A bird feeds its young in their nest upon one branch; on another, bees buzz busily at their (inaccurately represented) hive. Elsewhere, a spider swings down on its web from a tree limb, or a beetle scuttles out from beneath a log. All of the pop-ups are cleverly executed, adding dimension and motion without ever requiring kids to pull a single tab—which should greatly increase the life expectancy of the book. Even the text teems with life, at times floating in the breeze, drifting in the water, or following the contours of a crawling caterpillar. Companion title Explore the Shore follows the same format to explore a coastal ecosystem.

From amphibians to earthworms, there’s plenty here to foster an interest in the natural world. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-618-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

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

CLIMATE CHANGE FOR BABIES

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.

SHARKBLOCK

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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