Take a tour around the world and learn to say “I love you” with 15 different parent-child animal pairs.
Representative animals from different countries profess their affection in different languages, while small, somewhat obscured placards identify their countries of origin. Phonetic pronunciations underneath each statement (including “I love you”) assist with possibly unfamiliar words. This is especially helpful in a companion volume, Merry Christmas, World, as some phrases are rather long. Animals and countries are nicely spread about the globe, opening on a Canada goose speaking English to its gosling, who responds in French; later on, a Japanese Shiba Inu whispers to its pup. Non-Roman characters are absent; all languages that employ them are rendered only in Romanized form. Cheerful backmatter showing small vignettes of each duo identifies the animal species and languages spoken, although their out-of-order display may confuse readers. Dense, multilayered art creates atmospheric backgrounds, with a plethora of colors bleeding into each other, and Szmidt renders the mostly realistic animals with visible lines, like a neatly filled-in coloring book. With steadfast eye contact between parent and child, snuggly poses (a fox kit is wrapped in a fluffy tail), and even tigers and king cobras looking warm and fuzzy, it’s a little precious, but it suits the subject matter. The Christmas book suffers without the parent-child relationship, as the added presents or Santa hats are cute but not as compelling.
Mushy but endearing. (Board book. 2-4)