Sometimes simpler is better. Pass on this hurried jumble.


From the Touch-and-Feel series , Vol. 2

Four concepts in one busy board book imported from France.

Using a guessing-game format, Deneux introduces colors, shapes, numbers and opposites, following those introductions with increasingly complex iterations of each topic. Toddlers depicted throughout have varied skin tones but the same rosy cheeks. The “160 words” and “60 Touch-and-Feel Elements” announced on the front cover are scattered across sometimes-cluttered spreads. Many objects are not labeled. Most spreads have just one or two tactile features. What to do with this hodgepodge of information is not always clear, leaving it to caregivers to guide children through, for instance, the riot of colors at an amusement park or to puzzle out how a toy crane next to a numeral 9 may represent that number. After a single spread defines basic shapes, the next spread introduces a spiral, a diamond, a star, and an oval, along with objects that represent those shapes, followed by two pages cluttered with 50 objects (four with labels and just three with tactile elements) and the hint: “SO MANY COLORS AND SHAPES TO NAME.” The success of the reading experience depends on the skill of the adult sharing the book. Its touch-and-feel features demand one-on-one sharing, yet some of the tactile elements may not survive toddler fingers. Older toddlers may be confused; younger babies will be distracted.

Sometimes simpler is better. Pass on this hurried jumble. (Board book. 6 mos.-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-40801-968-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A substantive and affirming addition to any collection.


An impressive array of names, events, and concepts from Black history are introduced in this alphabet book for early-elementary readers.

From A for anthem (“a banner of song / that wraps us in hope, lets us know we belong”) to Z for zenith (“the top of that mountain King said we would reach”), this picture book is a journey through episodes, ideas, and personalities that represent a wide range of Black experiences. Some spreads celebrate readers themselves, like B for beautiful (“I’m talking to you!”); others celebrate accomplishments, such as E for explore (Matthew Henson, Mae Jemison), or experiences, like G for the Great Migration. The rhyming verses are light on the tongue, making the reading smooth and soothing. The brightly colored, folk art–style illustrations offer vibrant scenes of historical and contemporary Black life, with common people and famous people represented in turn. Whether reading straight through and poring over each page or flipping about to look at the refreshing scenes full of brown and black faces, readers will feel pride and admiration for the resilience and achievements of Black people and a call to participate in the “unfinished…American tale.” Endnotes clarify terms and figures, and a resource list includes child-friendly books, websites, museums, and poems.

A substantive and affirming addition to any collection. (Informational picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0749-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.



Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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