Sweet and apt, but slight. For another, more artful ursine exploration of the same question, try Sam McBratney and Anita...

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WITH ALL MY HEART

A day of outdoor fun prompts a big question to Momma Bear from her two young cubs.

Cub Jacob tags Momma—"You're it!"—and the game is afoot. These bears are reasonably shaggy but anthropomorphic; Momma wears a large red-and-white apron, Jacob's in a bright blue sweater, and his sister Casey has on a red dress. Jacob throws Momma a curve when he suddenly asks, "Who do you love best?" Casey wants to know the answer to this as well. Momma answers slowly. She loves the way that Jacob makes art, and how Casey dances and that both of them make her laugh. The children make funny faces until they send themselves into gales of helpless laughter, but when that subsides, they come back at Momma with the same question. She thinks a bit before tackling it again. "You're both a part of me,…like my paws. How can I love one of my paws more than the other?" She needs them both. Or maybe they're like her legs or her arms. She needs both her arms to give them big hugs. At last the cubs get it: Momma Bear loves them both the best. She scoops them up in a big hug. "With all my heart," she says. The bright illustrations and extra-sturdy pages suit a very young readership, as does the accessible prose.

Sweet and apt, but slight. For another, more artful ursine exploration of the same question, try Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram's You're All My Favorites (2004). (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58925-648-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Little Nutbrown Hare ventures out into the wide world and comes back with a new companion in this sequel to Guess How Much I Love You (1994).

Big Nutbrown Hare is too busy, so after asking permission, Little Nutbrown Hare scampers off over the rolling meadow to play by himself. After discovering that neither his shadow nor his reflection make satisfactory playmates (“You’re only another me!”), Little Nutbrown comes to Cloudy Mountain…and meets “Someone real!” It’s a white bunny who introduces herself as Tipps. But a wonderful round of digging and building and chasing about reaches an unexpected end with a game of hide-and-seek, because both hares hide! After waiting a long time to be found, Little Nutbrown Hare hops on home in disappointment, wondering whether he’ll ever see Tipps again. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long to find out, since she has followed him. “Now, where on earth did she come from?” wonders Big Nutbrown. “Her name is Tipps,” Little Nutbrown proudly replies, “and she’s my friend.” Jeram’s spacious, pale-toned, naturalistic outdoor scenes create a properly idyllic setting for this cozy development in a tender child-caregiver relationship—which hasn’t lost a bit of its appealing intimacy in the more than 25 years since its first appearance. As in the first, Big Nutbrown Hare is ungendered, facilitating pleasingly flexible readings.

Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1747-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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