Useful information passively presented.

LET'S PRETEND FIRE STATION

From the My World series

Intricate die-cut windows and the shaped edges of sturdy pages invite young children to explore careers through play.

Peekaboo windows hint at what the turns of the extra-thick pages will reveal. Simplified illustrations of firefighter equipment and trucks are accurate, incorporating photographs and drawn elements, including photos of two recurring characters: a child of color and a White child who demonstrate the tasks of firefighters. Odd design choices mar this effort. For example, on both the cover and the first page, the same White child appears twice, and in another early spread, the child of color holds a fire hose that is not hooked up to the nearby hydrant; after the initial scenes with children in the firetruck, no people are seen on the rest of the trucks, rendering the illustrations rather sterile. Equipment shown in companion title Let’s Pretend Animal Hospital looks like it came from a preschool dramatic play kit. How the equipment is used is left to the imagination. (How does a veterinarian use safety pins?) The cast of Animal Hospital is larger than Fire Station’s and is about half White and half children of color. The final spread features an Asian child in veterinarian garb while three children in the background cuddle the real stars, a dog, kitten, and bunny. Both books offer the right amount of information for little ones, but exclamatory sentences (“We put out fires and save lives!”) fail to generate excitement.

Useful information passively presented. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-657-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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100 FIRST WORDS

The titular words are divided by topic with animals participating along the way.

This board book reads exactly as expected. Common “first words” are organized into thematic sections like “toys and games,” “at the park,” and “things that go.” Wide-eyed animals are shown riding on a bus, using the potty, and talking on a cellphone (labeled telephone). All of the scenes and words are fairly predictable, making it familiar to toddlers but not necessarily exposing them to new vocabulary unless this is truly the first of its ilk they are reading. The “parts of the body” pages use three monkeys to demonstrate those parts, omitting tail, ears, and facial features. The choice of monkey rather than human models is an odd one, since this book is meant for very young learners just beginning to name and identify these parts of their own bodies. The “things that go” spread is the most visually interesting—possibly overstimulating for younger readers. There is plenty for caregivers to talk about with children here, in contrast to the bare-bones “clothes” spread, for example. The illustrations are cutesy and two-dimensional. This makes the pictures easy to identify, but it also means they lack detail and complexity. Sturdy and sized for small hands, this book does indeed present 100 words but offers little to make it stand out among the many other similar titles already on shelves.

Does the job. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-687-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good.

SHAPE UP, CONSTRUCTION TRUCKS!

Storytime gets a kick in the pants with this jaunty combo of shapes and vehicles.

In this look at basic geometry via high-resolution photographs of construction trucks, the youngest of readers are introduced to nine different shapes. Using a seek-and-find format, the book encourages them to locate each shape as it appears on a vehicle, clearly delineated with thick, colorful lines. A clear, red triangle decorates the bed of a dump truck; a blue oval surrounds the barrel of a concrete mixer. The rhyming text names the featured equipment, each shot with crystal clarity outdoors on a variety of beautiful days. From the jaunty little red forklift sporting a rectangle on its side to the rhombus of a road sign snapped at an angle, small fingers will have no difficulty tracing each of the featured shapes again and again. Similar in its cadences to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle (1967), this book is ideal for construction storytimes everywhere. “Road roller / Road roller / Coming through! / I spy a circle— / How about you?” Be sure to sing it to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” if you really want to bring down the house. Activities to further engage young children are included at the end of the book.

Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77278-134-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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