In this French import, little animals experience big emotions, but by talking about feelings and with a little help from a pull-tab, the situations turn around.
Depicting familiar problems that will resonate with a toddler audience, each illustration uses a sturdy pull-tab to transition from the child’s dilemma to the resolution. Adult characters nicely model helping children navigate emotional moments, with one particularly successful page showing a small bear clinging to his mother, frightened of a dog. Mommy coaxes him forward, and with a pull of the tab, readers see the bear comfortably greeting the pup; it’s a gratifyingly presented miniature drama. Excellent pages, though, share the book with ho-hum ones: An “excited” little monkey’s only action is packing his backpack, an underwhelming visual change, and a toddler kangaroo (that looks a lot like a bunny) declaring himself “disgusted” seems like a linguistic stretch. Children will enjoy the tabs, which are seamless in their transition from scene to scene. Vintage 1970s-inspired cartoon animals have dramatic faces that clearly inform readers how they feel, though the animals lean closer to quirky than cute. At times, the translation feels stiff, and the dialogue’s reliance on treacly pet names—not to mention the downright cloying ending of “I love ice cream, Daddy! But I love you more”—seems contrived.
A well-constructed toy book, though its narrative might leave readers with mixed feelings. (Board book. 18 mos.-4)