This one is worth it just for the illustrations even if the text falls behind.

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LOVE YOU HEAD TO TOE

Children’s movements and activities are compared with animals’ as seen through a caregiver’s eyes.

Barron’s paper-collage illustrations depict the motion of an animal alongside a child who moves, plays, or wiggles in the same way. Four-line rhyming stanzas accompany each two-page spread, with the animal and the text against a white background on the left and a full-color illustration of the child on the right. The action of each layout is a true match between animal and child; a baby crawls through the sand as a turtle drags itself to the sea, for instance. It is refreshing to see a smiling black baby on the cover as well as a nicely diverse cast of children and caregivers within. Barron’s collages are gorgeous. A particular standout, of a father and baby bundled up in the snow opposite a pair of emperor penguins, conveys depth and texture. Each piece of each illustration has a specific place and purpose. The text, however, falls short of the illustrations. Some stanzas have a nice rhythm and rhyme, while others read awkwardly, padded with animal sounds that seem to have been inserted as filler for lack of words to fit rhyme and scansion: “You're just like a duckling, / Riding on my back. / Splishing and splashing around the pool, / Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack!"

This one is worth it just for the illustrations even if the text falls behind. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77147-304-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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