An innovative approach to teaching children about ecosystems and life cycles.

WHOSE BABY IS THIS?

Some babies look like their parents—but some do not!

In this fetchingly illustrated, slide-the-tab book from France, young readers learn about insects, birds, and animals that inhabit a range of familiar ecosystems, including ponds, forests, meadows, and mountains. On each page, children slide a tab with a labeled picture of a creature early in its life cycle to reveal what the creature will look like as an adult. Babin includes a variety of intuitive choices, such as otters and their pups, as well as less predictable pairs like tadpoles and frogs and dragonflies and larvae. (The “kid” that grows into a “sheep” may raise eyebrows.) The text is cleverly integrated into illustrations of animals, insects, and birds in their habitats and is rendered in the first person, implying that each creature is speaking directly to readers about its habitat, feeding habits, and life cycle. A baby otter, for example, says that it is a good swimmer like its mother; a caterpillar says that when it gets older it will grow wings. Each two-page spread is packed with facts that are perfect for very young naturalists. The use of baby animals as narrators combined with the slide-the-tab design makes this book incredibly inviting to young readers, although the lack of narrative structure may make it challenging for group read-alouds.

An innovative approach to teaching children about ecosystems and life cycles. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-2-408-02389-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

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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For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

BUGS!

From the DR. Books series

There’s plenty of information and instruction crammed into this 5 ½-inch-square board book.

Hutton starts with the opening lines of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” leaving blanks to indicate where readers should fill in key words. Caregivers of toddlers who do not know the song will need to supply the words until their children are familiar enough with it to play the game. On the third page the tone shifts to conversational questioning, providing a model of dialogic reading. The adult reader speaks directly to the child: “Did you just see a bug? What kind of bug was it?…Was it BIG or small? Inside or outside?” The next six pages continue in that vein, providing information in response to the questions. Pages 11 and 12 refer to the rhyme again: “What’s that spider doing? Yes, it’s climbing! Climbing up a water spout! Climbing up a water spout at Grandpa’s house!” This method of repetition and expansion on an idea is excellent practice for beginning readers, but again, toddlers may need time to adjust. The final spread returns to a question likely to engage toddlers, with no practice necessary: “What’s your favorite kind of bug?” Colorful illustrations in shades of blue, green, and brown are only semirealistic; they emphasize a friendly look instead of a creepy one, potentially disappointing for young entomologists fascinated by the real thing.

For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-936669-80-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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