While others have done the trope better, both titles are passable parent-child love stories.

THAT'S MY MOMMY!

Various animal youngsters share what’s special about their mommies.

Hodgman’s prose describes each mother’s virtue in phrases that mix sentiment with simple descriptions. “My mommy is the most beautiful mommy in the world. / My mommy tucks me in at night.” The soft watercolor cartoons inconsistently place the critters in human or animal settings, but all of the characters wear clothes or accessories of some sort. Most of the scenes are sentimentally warm, as when the mama duck floats by while her duckling braves the water. Others don’t work quite so well, like a difficult-to-read image of an overly made-up ostrich mom and child gazing at each other in a bathroom mirror. The companion title, That’s My Daddy!, follows the same format with animal fathers, but Logan’s illustrations seem to indulge in a little more humor here. The daddy giraffe sports a necktie, and the woodpecker papa uses his beak to hammer in a nail. In both books, the gender roles are quite traditional. The moms teach cooking and wear aprons, and the dads use tools and go camping.

While others have done the trope better, both titles are passable parent-child love stories. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-645-3

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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A joyful celebration.

FAMILIES BELONG

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. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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