The importance of the STEM fields in our world cannot be overstated. But the importance of understanding early childhood...

ROCKET SCIENCE FOR BABIES

From the Baby University series

Another board book attempts to communicate complex scientific ideas to very young children.

This book and its companions, all aimed at very young children, presume the intended audience is familiar with conventional symbols to convey information, as all the explanations are made visually by means of arrows that indicate airflow. It stretches the imagination to believe toddlers will follow explanations delivered that way. Even more baffling is the assumption that toddlers have in their vocabulary arsenal words such as “flow,” “angle,” “deflect,” “lift,” and “thrust.” Further complicating the attempt is the oversimplification necessary to communicate to youngsters. Boiling concepts down to such statements as “This ship is full of fuel. / If the fuel goes out, // the ship goes forward” perhaps ought to have indicated the futility of this particular effort. In companion General Relativity, there is a page with horizontal and vertical lines forming a grid. Many toddlers might identify this as a piece of mosquito netting, but they would be wrong, as it is in fact “flat space.” Later they will also find out that “Mass drags space.” And “Space drags mass.” The explanations in Newtonian Physics and Quantum Physics are no better. Adults wishing to introduce children to the laws of physics will be more effective—and have more fun—playing with blocks, making waves in the bathtub, and launching paper planes into the air.

The importance of the STEM fields in our world cannot be overstated. But the importance of understanding early childhood development when writing for preschoolers cannot be overstated either. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5625-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere.

HELLO, DINOSAURS!

From the Animal Facts and Flaps series

Colorful, fun, and informative guide for pint-sized dinosaur enthusiasts.

Kid-friendly and more informative than most dino books for tots, this lift-the-flap dinosaur book is a great next step for any kid with an interest in the subject. Each double-page panorama—occasionally folding out to three or even four pages wide—is organized around types of dinosaurs or habitats. While most featured dinosaurs are land dwellers, prehistoric reptiles of the sea and sky appear as well. Dinosaurs are rendered in bright colors on a white background in a childlike style that makes even Tyrannosaurus rex not too terrifying. Make no mistake, though; the king of the dinosaurs is clearly labeled “CARNIVORE.” Folding T. rex’s head back reveals a black-and-white handsaw, to which the text likens its enormous, sharp teeth. Another marginal illustration, captioned, “Watch out! T. rex is looking for its lunch,” shows a Triceratops specimen on a plate. Yet another reads, “Crushed dinosaur bones have been found in T. rex poop!” Several racially diverse kids appear in each scene, like toddler scientists variously observing, inspecting, and riding on the dinosaurs depicted. In addition to teaching the difference between herbivores and carnivores, the book also conveys a sense of the scale of these prehistoric beasts: Diplodocus is two school buses long, a Triceratops adult is the size of an elephant, and a Velociraptor is the size of a turkey, for example.

Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0809-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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