A useful starting point for an interesting discussion with preschoolers and elementary school students on head coverings,...


What are you wearing on your head?

This board book is an introduction to traditional religious head coverings from different faiths. “Many religious people share the custom of covering their heads to show their love for God,” it opens. Each page presents an illustrated portrait of a person from a particular religion, faith, or culture wearing their head covering. The painterly portraits show people of varied skin tones, eye colors, and hair colors and are religiously accurate—the South Asian Muslim man wearing a topi has a full beard, and the young Jewish boy wearing the kippah has long sidelocks. The spare text includes the name of the head covering, its phonetic pronunciation, and the faith/culture where it is often worn. “This is a Patka (Putt-kah), / which many Sikh boys wear.” It celebrates Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Rastafarian, and Christian head coverings. There are other words that can be used for the same head coverings that are not mentioned (yarmulke for kippah, dupatta for chunni), and some of the pronunciations may be suspect (tou-pi or toh-pi? choon-ee or choon-nee?). Despite this, it is a book in which global kids can see themselves and others, a mirror as well as a window. With no real context supplied, this serves as just an introduction.

A useful starting point for an interesting discussion with preschoolers and elementary school students on head coverings, faith, and respect in our diverse world. (Board book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9576364-7-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Clear, age-appropriate, and durable—the best way to get a young coder started—without screen time.


Coding principles are gamified with tabs and flaps.

Topic by topic in double-page spreads, this book tackles the fundamental concepts and logic of computer programing, with playful interactions that vary appropriately. The game for “decomposing,” an essential skill, has durable flaps with answers for questions posed about what steps are needed for a task. The “algorithm” spread explains the way computers interpret commands with comical illustrations of what happens when there are missing steps or insufficient detail. A cupcake-making machine with flaps that reveal whether a part in the illustration is functioning or buggy explains “debugging,” and so on. Each interaction suits its given topic remarkably well. An IF- and ELSE-statement explains conditionals with a treasure-hunt flap game that has surprising replayability. In the variables game, the book’s most complicated, readers time themselves counting up objects worth different point values via a spinning wheel and lift a tab to see if they were correct. Throughout, “Code Word” sidebars and other explanations are provided by pixelated humans of all genders and skin tones, and the game art is a bubbly cartoon style.

Clear, age-appropriate, and durable—the best way to get a young coder started—without screen time. (glossary, index) (Informational novelty. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4654-5973-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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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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