A lyrical celebration of an ordinary outing and the bonds between loving adult and child.

HAND IN HAND

From the New Books for Newborns series

A young toddler enjoys a day “hand in hand” with a loving, energetic caregiver.

While their relationship is never stated, the Asian-presenting youngster is a diminutive version of the grown-up, right down to the chin-length bobbed hair and bangs. The dyad enjoys a walk through the park, a snack on a park bench, some active play on the playground, and the trip on foot back home, the tired toddler carried by the loving adult. The lovely, rhythmic text is a series of rhymes made up of one to four words per line: “Me / You / We, two / Hand in hand / Through and through.” Murray’s soft art, which has the look and feel of pencil, pen, and ink, projects a cozy warmth despite a mostly cool, pale color scheme. The bond between the duo is palpable. While this offering is part of the New Books for Newborns series, with text reading like a gentle lullaby, the palette, busy compositions, and age of the featured child makes it feel more appropriate for children taking their first steps. Those children will thrill to see the fun they’ll have once they are steady on their feet, playing on the slide, running after a ball, and perching on the playground carousel.

A lyrical celebration of an ordinary outing and the bonds between loving adult and child. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4172-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Specific visuals ground this sweet celebration of simple pleasures.

MY HEART FILLS WITH HAPPINESS

Black-haired, brown-skinned children describe many sources of happiness in this board book, dedicated by the author to “former Indian Residential School students.”

“My heart fills with happiness when… / I see the face of someone I love // I smell bannock baking in the oven / I sing.” Author Smith, who is Cree, Lakota, and Scottish-Canadian, infuses her simple text with the occasional detail that bespeaks her First Nations heritage even as she celebrates universal pleasures. In addition to the smell of bannock, the narrator delights in dancing, listening to stories, and drumming. Cree-Métis artist Flett introduces visual details that further underscore this heritage, as in the moccasins, shawl, and braids worn by the dancing child and the drum and drumsticks wielded by the adult and toddler who lovingly make music together. (The “I drum” spread is repeated immediately, possibly to emphasize its importance, a detail that may disorient readers expecting a different scene.) Although the narrative voice is consistent, the children depicted change, which readers will note by hairstyle, dress, and relative age. The bannock bakes in a modern kitchen, and most of the clothing is likewise Western, emphasizing that these Native Americans are contemporary children. There is nothing in the text that specifically identifies them by nation, however.

Specific visuals ground this sweet celebration of simple pleasures. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0957-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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