Unfortunately, the Hallmark sentiments in the primary text make this book feel generic and just transitorily cute.

READ REVIEW

I LOVE KISSES

Fifteen examples of animal affection, which looks not so different than the human kind.

Each two-page spread features a high-resolution photo of same-species animals, often presumably parent and child, expressing affection and a two-part text. The first part reads almost like a message in a Valentine's Day card: "I'm small and scared, but mom's kisses make me feel big and brave," says the grizzly bear cub as its mother gives it a nuzzle. This is supplemented by an interesting factlet, like the fact that a single giraffe mother takes care of a group of giraffe calves in a nursery while the other mothers forage. Koalas like to hug, one owl pecks another on the cheek, and the dolphins naturally touch snouts. There’s a fair amount of anthropomorphism on display in the primary text: cheetah cubs perk up their “sad or tired” mother by “kissing her”; a pair of rabbits “fight,” then “kiss and make up.” Though the secondary text sometimes explicates this, it is nevertheless both syrupy and misleading. The photos are bright and maximally adorable, occupying two-thirds of each spread, and the nuggets of animal fact are nice. Publishing simultaneously is the similarly themed and formatted I Love Hugs.

Unfortunately, the Hallmark sentiments in the primary text make this book feel generic and just transitorily cute. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60992-720-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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The gentle ending, with pony and friends cuddled up for bed, slows the trotting long enough— just the way a book for...

NONI THE PONY

Noni, friendly and funny, is the perfect pony for preschoolers.

Like Noni herself, the light rhyme, bustling with rhythm and easy to read, is friendly and funny. Lester’s art, which shows every apple, carrot, cow and hen she mentions in her text, invites new readers and horse-loving listeners to join Noni and her best friends, Dave Dog and Coco the Cat, in their play. Each couplet is accompanied by Lester’s droll illustrations. The animals appear humorously flat, almost as if Lester cut them out and glued them in by hand. The movements are exaggerated and at times remarkably unhorselike. The cover is especially amusing, showing Noni doing a split in midair. “They ambush each other and play hide-and-seek, / racing and chasing and jumping the creek,” is illustrated with arrows and dotted lines to show the movement of the animal friends, while subtle eye movements let the reader know exactly who is hiding from whom. The layout, just one couplet per spread with every word illustrated, is perfect for anxious youngsters who want to prance through stories over and over again but not linger too long on any page.

The gentle ending, with pony and friends cuddled up for bed, slows the trotting long enough— just the way a book for toddlers should end. Night-night, Noni. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5959-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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