A welcome addition to the toddler bookshelf.

LEO CAN SWIM

Leo is back (Leo Loves Baby Time, 2014, etc.), and now he happily attends a community swim class with Daddy.

“Leo loves the water. He is like a little fish!” A smiling Leo is in sudsy bath water, his dark, curly head and brown body held up by a pair of strong, brown, adult arms. As the story continues, readers see Leo and Daddy interact lovingly throughout, from sitting together on a big chair—viewing a swim-class brochure—to changing into proper swim attire in the locker room and taking part in a class that features a pool full of other happy baby-and-adult pairs. The range of skin and hair types is commendable, even including one adult-child combination of nonmatching skin. Getting used to the off-center noses of the babies requires a little time—probably more for adults than children. The text has some sentences that will sound delightful to little ears as little eyes view the water babies: “They swish and swoosh. They splish and sploosh.” The tender and competent care given to Leo by his father is reason enough to praise this book. Also, like its predecessor, the codex itself has rounded corners and strong, resilient paper to accommodate its audience. The ending is a bit abrupt, but it parallels babies’ and toddlers’ tendencies to play hard and suddenly run out of energy.

A welcome addition to the toddler bookshelf. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58089-725-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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This will have readers putting on their dancing shoes to do the “cha cha cha” with their dino-babies

DINOSAUR DANCE!

It's not the first time dinosaurs have been featured in a clever Boynton board book. It seems she—and we—can't get enough.

As her fans know, Boynton has a sly wit that respects the intelligence of her young fans and amuses the adults asked to “read it again.” In this book she introduces nine dinosaurs, each of which dances in a way that seems totally appropriate for that particular species. “The blue Stegosaurus goes SHIMMY SHIMMY SHAKE. / The red Brontosaurus goes QUIVERY QUAKE.” Drawing on her experience as a children’s musician, she writes a text that trips along like a song with rhymes that make sense but don't intrude. The illustrations, typical Boynton, reflect her greeting-card background. They are cartoonish but manage to capture the unique personality of each creature. The unnamed dinosaur narrator looks genuinely distraught at not being able to name the “tiny little dino” that “goes DEEDLY DEE.” Spoiler alert: the tiny little dinosaur is probably Compsognathus and would be about the size of a small chicken. Young dinophiles would be impressed if the dinosaurologists in their lives could supply that factoid, but alas, they will have to look it up.

This will have readers putting on their dancing shoes to do the “cha cha cha” with their dino-babies . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8099-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A simple but action-packed story for the littlest ballplayers.

BASEBALL BABY

From the Sports Baby Book series

A toddler enjoys a family baseball game and explains baseball basics.

The focus of the first-person narrative is the titular tot, a Black child with short hair wearing a pin-striped shirt and blue baseball cap (those who aren’t Yankee fans may not appreciate the look). The other players, all members of the same Black family, include an older, gray-haired “coach,” a pink-clad kid with hair in a topknot Afro puff, a goatee’d grown-up, and a ponytailed adult. Together they play a robust game of what is actually T-ball—a bit easier for the preschool set to emulate. The action includes practice throws, catching fly balls, batting, and even a home run to finish the game. The narrative consists of gentle rhyming verse, slightly forced to accommodate all the baseball vocabulary: “Up it flies. / The outfield chases. / I drop my bat / and run the bases.” Various critters, including a bird, an earthworm, and a bunny, can be seen cheering on the players. The boldly colored cartoon figures stand out well against the softer, more muted landscapes. The outing ends with the little baseball player tucked into bed, still wearing “my lucky hat.”

A simple but action-packed story for the littlest ballplayers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20243-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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