Sometimes simpler is better. Pass on this hurried jumble.


From the Touch-and-Feel series , Vol. 2

Four concepts in one busy board book imported from France.

Using a guessing-game format, Deneux introduces colors, shapes, numbers and opposites, following those introductions with increasingly complex iterations of each topic. Toddlers depicted throughout have varied skin tones but the same rosy cheeks. The “160 words” and “60 Touch-and-Feel Elements” announced on the front cover are scattered across sometimes-cluttered spreads. Many objects are not labeled. Most spreads have just one or two tactile features. What to do with this hodgepodge of information is not always clear, leaving it to caregivers to guide children through, for instance, the riot of colors at an amusement park or to puzzle out how a toy crane next to a numeral 9 may represent that number. After a single spread defines basic shapes, the next spread introduces a spiral, a diamond, a star, and an oval, along with objects that represent those shapes, followed by two pages cluttered with 50 objects (four with labels and just three with tactile elements) and the hint: “SO MANY COLORS AND SHAPES TO NAME.” The success of the reading experience depends on the skill of the adult sharing the book. Its touch-and-feel features demand one-on-one sharing, yet some of the tactile elements may not survive toddler fingers. Older toddlers may be confused; younger babies will be distracted.

Sometimes simpler is better. Pass on this hurried jumble. (Board book. 6 mos.-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-40801-968-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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


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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With minimal text and bright-color illustrations, Crews captures the essence of a plane journey."Boarding. . . Take off. . .Flying over cities. . .Flying into the clouds. . . Time to head down. . ."—the brief captions are hardly needed to accompany the 16 double-spread illustrations showing a small, propeller, driven plane on its way from city to city, day to night. With buildings and vehicles resembling simple wooden toys, the bold, sunny illustrations can be "read" by the youngest. Crews' style has become familiar, through several fine books; this is a worthy companion to the award-winning Freight Train and Truck.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 1986

ISBN: 0688092357

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: April 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1986

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