High-quality photos of children and objects from nature and the built environment engage kids in exploring basic geometry.

SHAPES

Exciting young children about mathematical concepts is becoming increasingly important, as parents and teachers recognize the value of STEM education.

This attractive, new full-color photo essay will stimulate children to recognize, name, and categorize the basic shapes they see everywhere. The multisensory text encourages kids to associate shapes with listening and feeling. Taste and smell can also be explored. Phrases like “TRIANGLES chime...” and “OVALS pop...” will inspire poetic use of language. The introductory spread for each shape includes one photo within a cutout of the shape, for example, a red kite within a diamond-shaped background of blue sky, and the caption: “DIAMONDS fly....” The page turn reveals a grid of photos of diamond shapes, including pips on playing cards, textiles and tiles, and a baseball diamond. The text naming these images appears in one box in the grid, so identifying which photo represents what’s described becomes a game, potentially spurring creative thought. On many spreads, racially diverse children interact with the shapes; a light-brown–skinned child sports a star barrette in curly brown hair, an Asian-presenting kid holds a square, wrapped present. The book ends with a challenge in the form of photos of different shapes and a question: “What shapes do you see?” An opening note discusses the difference between plane and spatial geometry and the importance of shape identification in early learning.

High-quality photos of children and objects from nature and the built environment engage kids in exploring basic geometry. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4638-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A timely message in the wrong format.

TOGETHER

This book delivers a message on the power of collective action.

As the book opens, a child looks at a lone star shining in the sky: “One star shines as distant light.” After the turn of the page, the child now sees what looks like the Milky Way: “And when stars shine together, they make our galaxy.” The book goes on to give a number of similar examples to reinforce the message of the power that comes from working together, ending with: “One of us can speak up for justice / And when we speak up together we create a world of possibility.” In the current atmosphere of strife and discord that divides our country, this is certainly a welcome message. Perhaps, though, the board-book set is not the right audience. As a picture book aimed at a slightly older group with an information page at the end explaining some of the illustrations, it might work well. As it is, however, some of the visual references will merely puzzle a toddler—and some adults. For example, a group of angry-looking people raising their fists and singing together may not look like “harmony” to a toddler—unless they know about the New Zealand haka. There is an unexplained frog motif that runs through the book that may also mystify readers. Nagara’s brilliant illustrations portray people of many ethnic backgrounds.

A timely message in the wrong format. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64421-084-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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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