Destined to be tucked in with a shower gift to gently reassure anxious new moms that they and their babies will be perfectly...

WELCOME HOME, BABY!

From the New Books for Newborns series

Toddlers will get the message: your birth was eagerly anticipated; you are wanted and loved.

Framed as a tour of the home, each spread describes some part of a domicile and the activities that are at the center of a baby’s life. From the “welcome home” sign and balloons on the front door of a clapboard structure to the adoring gaze of the new, dark-skinned parents on a possibly urban stoop, each baby is welcomed with love. Both children and caregivers are ethnically diverse. The age, skin tone, and amount of hair on the baby’s head vary from spread to spread, creating an inclusive vision of the ideal family. For example, a brown-skinned man with curly hair and beard is shown reading to a slightly lighter-skinned child with straight brown hair. The previous spread shows a red-haired white child playing outside. Another page features a child with East Asian features and just a few wispy black tendrils of hair blowing out one birthday candle. Although the homes depicted seem universally secure and comfortable, the text allows for some elasticity in interpretation. The final spread describes home as “A place where you’ll always find / As much love as we can give.”

Destined to be tucked in with a shower gift to gently reassure anxious new moms that they and their babies will be perfectly happy . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0103-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A joyful celebration.

FAMILIES BELONG

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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