An excellent way to broaden children’s preexisting emotional vocabulary.

FEELINGS

From the TouchThinkLearn series

Evocative, poetic expressions of various emotions wrapped in an innovative tactile package.

It starts with the emotion “joy,” a raised, gloriously yellow die-cut chick cavorting on the left-hand page with a circular die cut serving as both a picture of a shining sun and a recess for the chick to fit into on the right. Though the book’s many raised and indented pieces fit together neatly, they aren’t always exact mirrors of each other—a neat touch. Each double-page spread offers a pair of word clusters, with (in the first one) a joy-inspired word bank first, followed by a second grouping that’s woven loosely together into a poem that actually carries a plot. In “sadness,” which details the “freeze • melt • puddle” demise of a snowman, the die-cut, drippy remains easily communicate the sense of “sob • snuffle • whimper.” Because feelings are so abstract and the vocabulary herein quite high level, with words like grit and cower, this may fly over the heads of the traditional board-book crowd, but perceptive preschoolers should enjoy the challenge of both the poems and the new language. Graphically simple shapes in bold colors are inviting, and some spreads, like one in which two “playful’’ squirrels caper opposite a teary “left out,” friend tell a perfect visual story. Most of Deneux’s risks pay off, like an angry red crayon accompanied by “exasperated” scribbles, but “surprise,” which confronts a mother duck and two ducklings with a hatchling alligator, concludes with an unsettling, conversation-starting “snap!”

An excellent way to broaden children’s preexisting emotional vocabulary. (Board book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7972-0379-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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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