Little Zoologist & Little Archaeologist (Smithsonian Institute)

Hello, friends! Our books today are Little Zoologist and Little Archaeologist, the first two titles in the Smithsonian Institute’s new Science Tots series, illustrated by Dan Taylor.

In these simple, colorful board books, the very youngest bookworms can develop early reading skills as they learn about the tools commonly used by each vocation. From the zoologists’ stethoscope, laboratory, or conservation center, to the archaeologists’ sifter, brush, and trowel, each tool or location is presented alongside a sweet illustration of a kid scientist employing or occupying it.

Cute but insubstantial. While Taylor’s adorable illustrations go a long way in giving these introductory books charm, much of both titles felt like filler. It’s cool to know that these scientists use objects like boots, hats, or buckets (the latter featured in both books, slightly more interestingly so in Zoologist), but with no accompanying texts and minimal context clues in the artwork, there’s nothing to connect these everyday items to the science of the people who use them. More specialized terms were more interesting, but could have also done with some written or visual context to help tie them to the subject. Archaeologist in particular was a letdown, as nearly every drawing simply featured tools for digging or moving dirt (pick axe, wheelbarrow, trowel, etc.), making even the cute illustrations feel repetitive and dull. The diverse cast is a nice touch, and JJ enjoyed practicing her early reading skills, but beyond the sweet illustrations, these are a bit forgettable overall. Still, for very, VERY young bookworms, these could be a fun and even slightly educational read – if not a particularly memorable one – so we’re still going to call them Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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