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I HAVE A LITTLE SEEDLING

From the New Books for Newborns series

Expect oohs and aahs when planted at a baby shower.

Newborns and toddlers will miss this gentle board book’s subtleties, but new moms will get the message: Babies grow all too quickly.

Meister mimics the rhythm and rhyme of the old nursery song about catkins, “I Have a Little Pussy,” to describe a seedling’s growth. Consistent syllable counts and unforced rhymes make the four-line stanzas read smoothly. Meanwhile the illustrations show both a seedling and a baby growing up. A patient gray pussycat on each spread observes their progress and echoes the pussy willows of the origin rhyme. The story starts on the cover. A mom cuddling a blanket-wrapped baby sits in a swing hung from a mature tree. Over the course of five verses spread over 14 pages, the titular seedling is planted, tended, and grows into a sapling as the baby goes from sleeping newborn to preschool child reading independently under that sapling. In between are playful images of the growing baby pulling the cat’s tail, toddling in a rainstorm, “helping” pull weeds near the seedling, and pushing the cat in a cart. Elements in the illustrations suggest growth and seasonal changes. The baby’s onesie has tiny leaves; the toddler’s shorts have slightly larger leaves; the child’s book cover and T-shirt are decorated with trees. The final illustration of the mother pushing the child in the swing under the blooming tree brings the story full circle. Both mother and child have pale skin.

Expect oohs and aahs when planted at a baby shower. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1002-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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FAMILIES BELONG

A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU

A lovely package, this quiet title will be best as a gift book for new moms eager to read aloud to the newest members of...

A mother’s observations of her new baby lead to a series of sweet comparisons to various animals.

“When I met you, you were small and trembling, and I thought you might be a little bunny. / I held you close so you were warm.” Teen author Marr (Made for You, 2014, etc.) uses playful yet comforting language in her picture-book debut. The baby’s squirming kicks remind her of a “lost kangaroo”; a lifting of the child’s head makes her think of a “curious lizard”; and the little one’s howl seems like that of a “lonely wolf.” Each of the child’s behaviors leads to a tender action taken by the mother: tucking the baby in, offering milk, and giving a bath. Each time a new creature is introduced, White gently changes the dominant color in the muted pastel palette of her watercolor and gouache illustrations. That hue is also reflected in the hand-lettered text, giving the overall design of the book a vintage feel. When the baby smiles, the mother knows “You are not a bunny-roo-lizard-wolf-kitten-piggy. You are my baby.” The final page shows the curled-up infant asleep in a pile of blankets.

A lovely package, this quiet title will be best as a gift book for new moms eager to read aloud to the newest members of their families. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16742-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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