Fun for the smallest critter enthusiasts; will work best as a browser.


From the Do You Know? series

Attention, animal lovers!

A feast for budding zoologists, this fact-laden French import contains four main sections—“What Is an Animal?” “Animal Life,” Animal Habitats,” and “Observing Animals.” Within sections, each page highlights a different relevant topic; for instance, under “What Is an Animal?” readers will learn about diet, mammals, and metamorphosis. (A final section, “More To Know,” includes dinosaurs, threatened/endangered species, and footprints.) Throughout, rudimentary data are presented via introductory sentences; charming spot-art illustrations of creatures and accoutrements with accompanying captions and labels, picture dictionary–style; and colorful sidebars that expand on the information and include cross-references to related pages elsewhere in the book. A “Let’s Review!” feature concludes each main section and, through questions and picture games, helps reinforce what children have learned. This mini-encyclopedia of sorts for the very young offers much: basic, accessible information about numerous animals; appealing, colorful, cartoon-style illustrations of wide-eyed animals and racially diverse kids; and opportunities for vocabulary enrichment. Some pages are cluttered or confusing; at times the book adopts a hodgepodge approach, particularly in the “Observing Animals” section, which covers perhaps too many bases, including structured animal environments, e.g., a zoo, a safari park, an aquarium, and a pet store, which depicts cats and dogs for sale—a practice falling largely out of favor. Still, flaws aside, it’s an attractive, well-organized volume. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fun for the smallest critter enthusiasts; will work best as a browser. (index) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-2-408-03356-9

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.


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

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Sound tadpole philosophy.


This photo essay about the eponymous amphibian includes simple rhyming sentences both informative and appreciative.

The first verso states boldly: “A frog / is a being. / It is watching. / It is seeing.” The photograph across the gutter presents a close-up view of a green frog’s face against a blurry, muted, outdoor background. The simple verses scan well throughout. Many of the sentences use “It” to refer to the frog whose life is being studied; just one “It” has a different antecedent, which throws a slight curve during initial reading. However, this small book of relatively few words manages to say a lot. Some pages give readers a rudimentary understanding of a frog’s daily life and the life cycle of a frog. Others provide gentle reminders that these are sentient creatures whose lives are only partly understood by human beings. (“Does it ponder? / We don’t yet know.”) The excellent photography—with sharp images that join the text in provoking humor, interest, and reverence—attests to the author’s note about spending a good deal of time observing frogs at a nearby pond. The author’s note itself is lovely: While offering fascinating details about her own encounters with specific frogs, it also clarifies for young readers the difference between scientific and anecdotal research—and the value in both. The youngest readers will love the photographs and rhymes; slightly older children will also appreciate the author’s note.

Sound tadpole philosophy. (resources) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2881-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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