First Words Farm: Sheep or Cow? by Lenka Chytilova, illustrated by Veronika Zacarova. Albatros, 2021. 9788000061375
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Format: Board book
What did you like about the book? Part of a series (First Words), this book is nicely sized for little hands and printed on sturdy board pages. The illustrations depict friendly and happy-looking animals swimming, running, or playing in mud. Each animal is easily recognizable and the text on the page simply names it.
This board book also has pages that have windows cut through to show part of the next or previous illustration. The donkey’s flank becomes the mouse’s belly, The pig’s nose becomes the cow’s nose. This will be fun for young readers.
Anything you didn’t like about it? With a title like “Sheep or cow?” I was expecting a book showing children pictures of similar-but-different animals, which could encourage readers to make comparisons and hone observation skills. The “or” in this title doesn’t quite work with this volume in the series. Though the first spread is duck or goose, inviting questions about ‘What do you see?’ and ‘What’s the same – What’s different?,’ the next spread is hen-sheep. There’s also mouse-cow, which is a bit of a head scratcher. The pictures are appealing in a 1960s cartoon sort of way, but it’s a missed opportunity to have been something more.
To whom would you recommend this book? Families with babies and toddlers learning to hold books and turn pages, kids who love farm animals.
Who should buy this book? Daycares, preschools, public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Board books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Robin Shtulman, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA
Date of review: December 2, 2021