Appropriate for Valentine’s Day or any day.



From the Little Holiday Books series

By exploring the smell, taste, sound, and feel of love, a cherub and some human children offer young readers a glimpse of what love can look like.

Although the title character’s name borders on saccharine, this volume has a genuine sweetness that’s hard to resist. Certainly, it should please young children, who lack such sophisticated prejudices. Author/illustrator Hall offers up a sampling of the ways we say, “I love you,” in terms that should be accessible to the pre-K crowd. The book avoids smarminess largely on the basis of the charm of its cast of racially diverse children, wide-eyed and smiling with delight at a succession of roses, chocolates, poems, and hugs, all offered by Little Darling, who is white. The kids are adorable, each in a cozy pair of footie pajamas; the winged cherub’s are bright blue with shiny red hearts. The format is simple: “Little Darling knows the smell of love.” Turn the page, and the cherub offers a brown girl with beaded locs a bouquet of flowers. “Little Darling knows the taste of love”; a turn of the page reveals that taste to be chocolates. Poetry represents “the sound of love.” Little Darling’s preferred way to show love is hugging, making this almost a primer on the five senses. Unfortunately, perhaps, there is no mention of consent. Companion title Little Rabbit’s Easter features a brown-skinned child in a purple bunny suit rounding up a troupe of other children in animal onesies.

Appropriate for Valentine’s Day or any day. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-910716-71-7

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Boxer Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.


Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.


An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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