Sure to fire imaginations and inspire questions caregivers may struggle good-naturedly to answer.

ASTRO KITTENS

INTO THE UNKNOWN

From the Professor Astro Cat series

Once dinosaurs have begun to seem passé, space is the place for many toddlers, and the Astro Kittens are excellent guides.

Together with  Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines, its companion volume in this spinoff of the Professor Astro Cat series, this board book promises to present “advanced scientific theories through fun and engaging artwork”—and manages to do so without talking down to children. Both books are information-dense, but, for the most part, ideas are introduced in manageable bites. Concepts covered include rockets, traveling at light speed, wormholes, suspended animation, and the possibility of “alien life forms.” Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines introduces telescopes (including the Hubble Space Telescope), the International Space Station, and even the “ideal rocket equation,” derived from “Newton’s second law of motion,” which few caregivers will able to verbalize unless they’re also astrophysicists! Explaining wormholes to little ones will seem like child’s play by comparison. All of this would seem too much if not for the adorable Astro Kittens and the kid-friendly artwork and the inviting, “just imagine” tone of the writing. Each idea is presented with two easily digested statements and an annotated illustration explaining rocket or satellite parts, historical facts about space exploration, and the like. The adventurous Astro Kittens clearly love their work, and they seem equally at home piloting spacecraft, spacewalking, or floating in zero gravity.

Sure to fire imaginations and inspire questions caregivers may struggle good-naturedly to answer. (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912497-27-0

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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So rocket science can be fun.

BABY LOVES SCIENTISTS

YOU CAN BE ANYTHING!

From the Baby Loves… series

What do you want to be when you grow up?

If they haven’t already thought about their futures (and they probably haven’t), toddlers and preschoolers might start planning after perusing this cheerful first guide to scientific careers. Plump-cheeked, wide-eyed tykes with various skin and hair colors introduce different professions, including zoologist, meteorologist, aerospace engineer, and environmental scientist, depicted with cues to tip readers off to what the jobs entail. The simple text presents the sometimes-long, tongue-twisting career names while helpfully defining them in comprehensible terms. For example, an environmental scientist “helps take care of our world,” and a zoologist is defined as someone who “studies how animals behave.” Scientists in general are identified as those who “study, learn, and solve problems.” Such basic language not only benefits youngsters, but also offers adults sharing the book easy vocabulary with which to expand on conversations with kids about the professions. The title’s ebullient appearance is helped along by the typography: The jobs’ names are set in all caps, printed in color and in a larger font than the surrounding text, and emphasized with exclamation points. Additionally, the buoyant watercolors feature clues to what scientists in these fields work with, such as celestial bodies for astronomers. The youngest listeners won’t necessarily get all of this, but the book works as a rudimentary introduction to STEM topics and a shoutout to scientific endeavors.

So rocket science can be fun. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62354-149-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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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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