The best part of this slim title is the final page, which pictures all the animal mothers with their appropriate names....

READ REVIEW

I LOVE EWE

AN ODE TO ANIMAL MOMS

A breezy book aimed at young readers touches upon the unique terms for 27 animal mamas.

A smallish trim size and cutesy, close-up illustrations executed with Prismacolor pencils contribute to a feel that this book is aimed at the toddler and early-preschool set. Clipped, rhyming language poses questions that may surprise with their answers. The spread that queries, “did you know not all COWS moo?” shows seal, elephant, hippopotamus and rhinoceros mother-and-child pairs, since each of these animal mamas is referred to as a “cow.” A traditional-looking chicken and chick introduce the term “hen,” which a page turn reveals also happens to be used for a female octopus, crab and lobster. Some pages may confuse, since not every pair of creatures featured gets a mention in the text—“Mommy is the QUEEN of clean” focuses on a sunny yellow cat and her kitten, but in the near background is a nanny goat and her kid. While potentially useful for introducing new terminology on an ever-popular topic, the pictures have a mass-produced quality that fails to charm, and the final spread of the book is a lackluster stringing of puns: “There’s no other PEN [a female swan] pal like her! DOE…you love me? / Oh, I love EWE.”

The best part of this slim title is the final page, which pictures all the animal mothers with their appropriate names. Consider only as an additional purchase. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2826-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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