To become coders, babies need to play with sequences, patterns, language, and logic—but not this book.

BABY CODE!

From the Girls Who Code series

Another book that aims to jump-start toddlers’ STEM careers.

Using retro-style art and coding syntax well beyond a toddler’s comprehension, this board book tries to simplify the complex language of code. The pale-skinned girl clad in polka-dot onesies is certainly cute, maybe even gifted, but that doesn’t mean she can understand the principles of coding. The selected real-world examples of coding are valid. Baby telling a dog what to do and code telling computers what to do are parallel constructs. The problem is that babies, no matter how much we want them to, cannot yet comprehend such abstract concepts. Girls (and boys) need real experience with the real world before they can begin to understand command language. The insertion of speech bubbles with “real code” near pictures of computerized toys (“train.go[ ]”) or tools (“repeat 3: phone.ring[ ]”) is simply clutter on the page and will not help babies who are still puzzling out the physical mechanics of the world understand how these devices work. Encouraging young girls to explore technology is certainly a worthy goal, but a board book marketed under the Girls Who Code umbrella will not do the job.

To become coders, babies need to play with sequences, patterns, language, and logic—but not this book. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-54257-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A gentle underwater excursion.

OCEAN LIFE

From the Hello World! series

An ocean-themed entry in the Hello World series.

A white youngster with long hair sporting a swim mask encourages little ones to “Dive in and take a look!” at ocean life. Each double-page spread presents a different marine animal, including whales, dolphins, sharks, an octopus, a crab and a lobster, sea turtles, fish, and jellyfish. Two or three conversationally conveyed facts of interest are included per double-page spread, one of which is usually in a smaller type and marked with an asterisk for obscure reasons. “What’s that? It’s a sea horse? It can quickly change colors to blend with the background, helping it hide from enemies,” reads the larger text in one representative spread, while the text in the smaller font reads, “A sea horse father carries eggs in a pouch until they are ready to hatch.” A trio of children, all of whom have light complexions, build a sand castle on the beach and collect shells to highlight the wide variety of the latter that can be found. McDonald’s jewel-toned art has the look of watercolor and is appropriately watery and accessible. The final pages allow children to reflect on their favorite ocean animal as the art reviews all the creatures depicted.

A gentle underwater excursion. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-57877-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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

PETS

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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