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

FEELINGS

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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Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this.

ABCS OF ART

From “Apple” to “Zebra,” an alphabet of images drawn from museum paintings.

In an exhibition that recalls similar, if less parochial, ABCs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (My First ABC, 2009) and several other institutions, Hahn presents a Eurocentric selection of paintings or details to illustrate for each letter a common item or animal—all printed with reasonable clarity and captioned with identifying names, titles, and dates. She then proceeds to saddle each with an inane question (“What sounds do you think this cat is making?” “Where can you find ice?”) and a clumsily written couplet that unnecessarily repeats the artist’s name: “Flowers are plants that blossom and bloom. / Frédéric Bazille painted them filling up this room!” She also sometimes contradicts the visuals, claiming that the horses in a Franz Marc painting entitled “Two Horses, 1912” are ponies, apparently to populate the P page. Moreover, her “X” is an actual X-ray of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard, showing that the artist repainted his subject’s face…interesting but not quite in keeping with the familiar subjects chosen for the other letters.

Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4938-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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