Hello, friends! Our books today are Baby Bowie and Baby KISS, the first two books in the Baby Rocker series, illustrated by Pintachan.
Each of these sturdy board books uses its subject to explore a toddler-friendly topic. In Baby KISS, illustrated colors, a classic topic for this age group; Baby Bowie takes a look at adjectives. Using simple illustrations with bright colors, and focusing on some of each artist’s most recognizable trademarks (KISS’s face paint, Bowie’s evolving personas, etc) to bring life to their topics.
Man, I really wanted to like these more than I did. The idea is solid – a board book for fans of these glam rock artists to share with their kiddos while teaching them valuable language basics. Sounds great! And for fans, there are some really cool nods: Gene Simmons’ axe bass guitar to illustrate “Silver” or Bowie’s eyepatch-wearing “Halloween Jack” persona to demonstrate “Spiky” hair. The problem is, the books often fail to lay out these concepts in a way in which very young children can connect to visually. The colors listed in KISS are, more often than not, opposite a page that features a rainbow of colors with little visual focus on the one being illustrated; example, a “Red” stage, flanked by bright purple curtains and awash with orange and yellow spot- and footlights, each with equal visual space. In Bowie, many of the adjectives are ones that cannot be shown in illustration (“Loud Guitar”), or could have been, but surprisingly were not (“Shiny Lightning Bolt” or “Sparkly Stars” on matte pages). All in all, these books seem to be made more to pay service to adult fans of these artists, and have far less function as educational titles. It’s disappointing, because this could have been a really neat concept, but it feels badly executed. JJ enjoyed the illustrations, and I enjoyed the references as a fan, but as board books go, these could have been done better, and there are already titles out there that have. Fans of Bowie and KISS should check them out, but otherwise, pass on these.
(Note: Copies of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.)