While this ABC book offers sweet rhymes, the volume’s hidden letters may confuse young readers.


I Love You Sour, I Love You Sweet

Illustrations of a variety of outlandish and familiar animals accompany a poem featuring letters of the alphabet.

“I love you wide. I love you / high. I love you like the / Angels fly” opens this poem that covers all 26 letters, though they are sometimes hidden inside the stanzas. Higman (Mocha Marriages, 2016, etc.), a veteran author, uses creative words to represent each letter: “Cookie-crunch,” “Heaven-tall,” and “Velvety,” among them. The rhymes here take precedence and are well-cadenced throughout, with all the ways to show love, even when you have a Fight or don’t want to eat your peas, Please. Some of the rhymes and pictures involve well-known beasts: the book pairs “I love you like a cozy rug / I love you like a big / Bear hug” with a heartwarming scene of a brown bear clasping a cub. But several of the images by debut illustrator Rogers feature animals obscure enough (quokka, ibex, uakari, Ulysses butterfly) that adults will likely find themselves doing Internet searches for photographs of the real creatures to show their young readers. Thankfully, a listing in the back offers all the letter words to be found on each page, helping to explain that bird on the N page (nightingale), and those weird mammals on the M page (meerkats). While some of the choices will elicit giggles, others are less inspiring: the word I for the I page, U in place of “you” for the U page, and merry-go-Round for R, for example. The problem with hiding the letters inside the rhyming phrases and using words like ice cream on the M page is that the youngest readers, who are most attracted to alphabet books, are likely to be confused and will not find the mnemonics they need to learn the letters. Likewise, the pictures offer little help. Executed with colored pencils in pastel colors, the cheerful illustrations focus more on the letters and less on tying into the text. Best known for her Christian genre novels for adults, Higman mentions God and heaven here in her charming poem only sparingly but enough to appeal to devout readers. The message of love may make this a fun book for sharing with lap readers who don’t find the alphabet aspect too frustrating.

While this ABC book offers sweet rhymes, the volume’s hidden letters may confuse young readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-944613-05-1

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Armonia Publishing Co.

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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