Overall, a solid choice for both very young children and children who are just beginning to read.

MY BIG BOOK OF SOUNDS

A vocabulary-building book with a twist.

Alternating between two- and one-page spreads, this board book features bustling, detailed pictures accompanied by simple, one-word labels in clean black text. Words are grouped according to themes such as “In the house,” which features keys, a vacuum cleaner, and a computer arranged in a neat grid, and “In the Bedroom,” which features a charming scene of a mother putting a baby to bed in a crib. As the book progresses, the words move farther away from the familiar, touching on tools, transportation, musical instruments, and a wide variety of wild and domestic birds and animals. The battery-operated bar to the right of the pages allows children to press a button coded with an icon specific to each respective page. When pressed, a female voice reads the words on the appropriate page aloud, along with accompanying sounds, such as the shake of a rattle, the ring of an alarm clock, and the soft notes of a musical mobile. One press results in a full reading of every word on the page, something that may not be intuitive to very young children used to buttons being coded to one, and only one, sound. The bold, solid blocks of color keep the illustrations interesting without cluttering them, and the human characters are varied in skin tone, hair texture, and gender presentation.

Overall, a solid choice for both very young children and children who are just beginning to read. (Board book. 6 mos.-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40801-285-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A disappointing twist on a popular theme. More gimmick than engaging.

NOISY DIGGER

From the I Can Learn! series

This noisy board book is designed to thrill tots fascinated with all things construction.

A tactile backhoe digger is center stage on each of the five cutout pages, complete with flaps. Brief rhyming text describes the machine’s actions as it works throughout the day. Animal characters engaged in manual labor or operating other machinery—a bulldozer, crane, road roller, and dump truck—describe more work that goes on at a construction site in small speech bubbles. Finding the mouse in every scene adds to the fun. On each page, a little bird sporting a hard hat invites young builders to press various parts of the silicone digger to activate a range of distinct sounds. The digger’s track pad sounds different from the sound of its arm moving dirt. The problem is that the digger itself is passive; the track pad and arm don’t actually move. The machine stays in the same place on every spread. The caution light beeps but doesn’t light up. Savvy kids will quickly realize that all the sounds are accessible from the first spread without having to turn the pages. The sound is the most engaging part of the book, but with only five sounds, this feature won’t hold most youngsters’ attention for long.

A disappointing twist on a popular theme. More gimmick than engaging. (Novelty board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-684-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind.

BABIES AROUND THE WORLD

Ten babies in 10 countries greet friends in almost 10 languages.

Countries of origin are subtly identified. For example, on the first spread, NYC is emblazoned on a blond, white baby’s hat as well as a brown baby’s scoot-car taxi. On the next spread, “Mexico City” is written on a light brown toddler’s bike. A flag in each illustration provides another hint. However, the languages are not named, so on first reading, the fine but important differences between Spanish and Portuguese are easily missed. This is also a problem on pages showing transliterated Arabic from Cairo and Afrikaans from Cape Town. Similarly, Chinese and Japanese are transliterated, without use of traditional hànzì or kanji characters. British English is treated as a separate language, though it is, after all, still English. French (spoken by 67 million people) is included, but German, Russian, and Hindi (spoken by 101 million, 145 million, and 370 million respectively) are not. English translations are included in a slightly smaller font. This world survey comes full circle, ending in San Francisco with a beige baby sleeping in an equally beige parent’s arms. The message of diversity is reinforced by images of three babies—one light brown, one medium brown, one white—in windows on the final spread.

A cheery board book to reinforce the oneness of babykind. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-938093-87-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Duo Press

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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