From the Global Greetings series

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)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1672-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.


From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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