Useful information passively presented.

LET'S PRETEND FIRE STATION

From the My World series

Intricate die-cut windows and the shaped edges of sturdy pages invite young children to explore careers through play.

Peekaboo windows hint at what the turns of the extra-thick pages will reveal. Simplified illustrations of firefighter equipment and trucks are accurate, incorporating photographs and drawn elements, including photos of two recurring characters: a child of color and a White child who demonstrate the tasks of firefighters. Odd design choices mar this effort. For example, on both the cover and the first page, the same White child appears twice, and in another early spread, the child of color holds a fire hose that is not hooked up to the nearby hydrant; after the initial scenes with children in the firetruck, no people are seen on the rest of the trucks, rendering the illustrations rather sterile. Equipment shown in companion title Let’s Pretend Animal Hospital looks like it came from a preschool dramatic play kit. How the equipment is used is left to the imagination. (How does a veterinarian use safety pins?) The cast of Animal Hospital is larger than Fire Station’s and is about half White and half children of color. The final spread features an Asian child in veterinarian garb while three children in the background cuddle the real stars, a dog, kitten, and bunny. Both books offer the right amount of information for little ones, but exclamatory sentences (“We put out fires and save lives!”) fail to generate excitement.

Useful information passively presented. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-657-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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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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