An excellent way to broaden children’s preexisting emotional vocabulary.


From the TouchThinkLearn series

Evocative, poetic expressions of various emotions wrapped in an innovative tactile package.

It starts with the emotion “joy,” a raised, gloriously yellow die-cut chick cavorting on the left-hand page with a circular die cut serving as both a picture of a shining sun and a recess for the chick to fit into on the right. Though the book’s many raised and indented pieces fit together neatly, they aren’t always exact mirrors of each other—a neat touch. Each double-page spread offers a pair of word clusters, with (in the first one) a joy-inspired word bank first, followed by a second grouping that’s woven loosely together into a poem that actually carries a plot. In “sadness,” which details the “freeze • melt • puddle” demise of a snowman, the die-cut, drippy remains easily communicate the sense of “sob • snuffle • whimper.” Because feelings are so abstract and the vocabulary herein quite high level, with words like grit and cower, this may fly over the heads of the traditional board-book crowd, but perceptive preschoolers should enjoy the challenge of both the poems and the new language. Graphically simple shapes in bold colors are inviting, and some spreads, like one in which two “playful’’ squirrels caper opposite a teary “left out,” friend tell a perfect visual story. Most of Deneux’s risks pay off, like an angry red crayon accompanied by “exasperated” scribbles, but “surprise,” which confronts a mother duck and two ducklings with a hatchling alligator, concludes with an unsettling, conversation-starting “snap!”

An excellent way to broaden children’s preexisting emotional vocabulary. (Board book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7972-0379-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.


Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Genial starter nonfiction.


From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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