MEALTIME

Nonpedantic, age-appropriate, interactive approaches to common adult-child interactions make for a winner.

Pull-tabs easily slide to change the image on each page, providing the excitement in this gentle introduction to table manners.

Only the front-cover tab is notched, but the tabs are all in the same position so little ones quickly learn the process. On the front the picture changes from one of Little Kangaroo (who looks like a green bunny) playing while Mommy carries the plates to the table to another of both eating happily together. Each verso page introduces the situation with an exchange of dialogue: “Time to eat, Little Bear!” says his mother; “Oh, mushy food is fun to play with!” he exclaims. On the following pages Little Crocodile feeds himself, Little Kangaroo tries broccoli, Little Monkey sits at the table to eat pasta and fruit salad, Little Bear is rewarded with cake when he stops throwing food and waits patiently, and Daddy Cat uses the airplane “coming in for a landing” trick to feed rice to Little Cat. On the final spread, (without a tab) the child animals use their bibs to wipe their hands. The animals’ simple faces are expressive and the changes in their childlike emotions obvious. Brothers and Sisters, published simultaneously, uses the same animal families to suggest ways to resolve familiar sibling conflicts.

Nonpedantic, age-appropriate, interactive approaches to common adult-child interactions make for a winner. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-40801-594-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

FAMILIES BELONG

A joyful celebration.

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. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

I LOVE YOU MORE, BABYSAUR

From the Punderland series

Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers.

A board-book ode to parental love as old as the dinosaurs.

A line of text on the left of each spread reads like a dinosaur-themed valentine that a third grader might choose, with punishingly punny wordplay that incorporates dinosaur-related words. On the facing page a dinosaur pair—a baby and an adult—gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes against whimsical, pastel-hued prehistoric-ish backgrounds. In smaller print, in all caps, at the bottom of the left page is the scientific name for the dinosaur referenced by the text and picture followed by a helpful phonetic pronunciation guide. White-outlined footprints appear next to their names, though the white is sometimes difficult to see against the pastel pages. Ten of the best-known dinosaurs are included. Twisting the dinosaur names to fit the loving sentiments succeeds some of the time but more often results in tortured text, well beyond the understanding of the board book audience. The line accompanying two hugging velociraptors, for instance, is just confusing: “Wrap-TOR arms around me, / with you I’ll always stay.” Others are just plain clumsy: “I-wanna-GUANODON you kisses, / I truly just adore you.” Very young children, even those fascinated by dinosaurs, will not get it. Older dinosaur fans will be put off by the babyish format.

Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2295-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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