Solid science concepts about seeds muddied by a segue into preschool pop-psych.

SEEDS

Lemniscates considers seeds, both as tiny biological powerhouses and metaphors for human potential.

“Seeds carry the power of life. / So they embark on amazing adventures.” Clear, stylized illustrations show seed dispersal, via wind and an ant colony. A double-page spread depicts the stages of a pumpkin seed from germination to blossoming. One vine—from one seed—“brings dozens of pumpkins. // And each pumpkin brings hundreds of seeds!” After examining an orchid’s progress from a tiny seed and observing that seeds can sprout in harsh conditions, Lemniscates swerves awkwardly into analogy. “A smile is a powerful seed. / … / But there are also seeds that bring anger and misunderstanding. / When those seeds grow, they pull us apart.” Indeed, two children formerly seen to be cooperating now engage in a tug of war over a basket of fruit they’ve picked. Bright pictures resemble a combination of print and collage, with swaths of textured color and snipped and applied shapes. Diversity is indicated by variations in hairstyle and skin tone. A harmonious conclusion shows a diverse group of friends playing ring-around-the-rosie accompanied by a vague address to readers: “Seeds have whole worlds inside them, / just like you.” While coaching from determined adults may enable young children to understand some of the metaphorical material, Lemniscates is on more solid ground with the clear botanical science that she introduces here.

Solid science concepts about seeds muddied by a segue into preschool pop-psych. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0844-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more