Don’t rest too easy. “I’ll be back!” intones our young Schwarzenegger.

BIG BAD BABY

We all know them—on the plane, on the train, in the car seat, after nighty-night: big bad baby.

Little Sammy is positively cherubic—all pink and roly-poly with Kewpie-doll cowlick and goo-goo eyes—but given half a chance, he becomes Bad Baby. Applesauce too tart? Time to chase the cat with hair clippers. Nap delayed? Time to work some Jackson Pollack with the mustard squeeze bottle. But Bad Baby has his eyes on making a real statement. So he cobbles together a Monster Machine, and voilà—a really big and bad baby emerges. He plays with trucks as if they were Matchbox toys, uses a lamppost as a baton and unleashes a hurricane-force belch. Not to mention the tsunami of drool. Police, firefighters, even the librarian—all are helpless before this diapered behemoth. That is, until the clothes drier finishes with his security blanket. Hale gives Breen plenty of room, supplying a rhythmically funny text that offers up one funny situation after another. Even as a towering Babyzilla, the giant tot retains his look of wide-eyed innocence. Bad Baby conducts his mayhem with so winning a grin on his puss, he’s no threat—he’s an entertainer (as long as he stays in the picture book).

Don’t rest too easy. “I’ll be back!” intones our young Schwarzenegger. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-35859

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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