QUIET AS A MOUSE

AND OTHER ANIMAL IDIOMS

Little readers learn some animal idioms.

Caregivers know the phrases “sly as a fox” and “blind as a bat,” and this board book tries its best to introduce these and other animal idioms to little readers. The resulting read is a disjointed affair: an extreme close-up of a minimally detailed, black-and-white animal’s face takes up one full page on recto, while the opposite page offers simple, rhyming clues to the animal idiom. When readers turn the page they are greeted with a full, detailed, full-color view of the animal. Although the facial features from the previous page are printed on its verso, the relationship between minimalist and full-color versions will be hazy at best to a board-book audience. The initial views purposely give little clue to the creature’s identity, and given the audience’s limited experience, the textual clues aren’t much help either. “Quick and cheeky, / smart and sneaky. / I’m sly as a… / Fox.” While the book succeeds in introducing new vocabulary, it does so in such a decontextualized way that toddlers are unlikely to be able to make use of it. Die-cut peek-through holes (an ox’s nostrils; the joint of a clam’s shell) provide some continuity but seem more gimmick than anything else.

A misfire. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2505-7

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors.

BABY'S FIRST BOOK OF BIRDS & COLORS

Gorgeous birds amid foliage of similar hues introduce eight basic colors.

The two birds presented on each spread not only are of similar coloration, but also live in the same North American habitat. A scarlet tanager and a cardinal, both male, perch in a red maple tree; a male Eastern bluebird and a blue jay appear with morning glories and blueberries. The name of each color is printed in large font, while the name of each bird is in a much smaller one. Whether the bird shown is male or female, or if the male and female have similar coloring, is also indicated. The names of the trees they perch upon are identified in a note on the back cover. These details will be lost on most toddlers, but caregivers will appreciate being able to answer questions knowledgeably. Colors featured are from the standard box of crayons, except that pink is substituted for purple. Black and white share a spread. The cover image, of a cardinal, goldfinch, and bluebird in a birdbath, is not nearly as inviting as the images within. The final spread shows children (one white, one black, one Asian) assembling a puzzle that includes the same birds. This may serve as a reprise but will probably be skipped over. Bird-loving readers will probably feel that the space could have been put to better use by giving white birds their own page or adding a purple martin.

Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-742-6

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A fun, new take on droppings.

WHERE DO YOU POOP?

Youngsters can learn about where and how various animals, domestic and wild, relieve themselves.

Via a pull-tab embedded in each recto (not, thankfully, in the rectum) readers can see the before and after, and a goldfish in a bowl leaves a trail while swimming. The verso asks each creature where it does its business, and then a (sometimes-forced) rhyming quatrain, translated from Italian, answers the question: “And where do YOU poop, mouse? / When inside my tummy / Starts to feel not so good / It’s time for a poop / On these chips made of wood!” The final double-page spread queries readers: “And where do YOU poop?” A redheaded, White toddler’s face is visible below this question; the pull-tab on the right opens a bathroom to reveal a White toddler, this time with medium brown hair, happily and modestly sitting on a blue toddler potty. The accompanying quatrain provides some developmentally appropriate guidance for feeling the signs of a movement coming on. Baruzzi’s art is droll and graphically clean (inasmuch as the depiction of excrement can be described that way). Little fingers may need some help finding the relatively easy-to-open and sturdy pull-tabs, since they blend into each page. It works as both a biology lesson and potty-training encouragement.  

A fun, new take on droppings. (Novelty board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66265-042-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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