Expect oohs and aahs when planted at a baby shower.

I HAVE A LITTLE SEEDLING

From the New Books for Newborns series

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 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Put on those gardening gloves; the fruits of this labor beckon.

THE LITTLE GARDENER

From the Teenie Greenies series

A young girl watches her garden grow.

Though she's a bit older than the typical board-book audience, her self-reliance makes her an appealing character for toddlers struggling to assert their independence. The strategic use of sturdy flaps provides both peekaboo fun and structure to the storyline. “Yellow daisy. / Red rose. / A bud blooms. / [lift flap] A flower grows.” Some of the interactive elements clearly connect objects to one another (shovel, pail), while other pairings review the progress of the blossoming outdoors. The child enjoys the results of her hard work (smelling a flower has never been so sweet) and waters her lush plants with her pint-sized watering can. Varied vocabulary extends the text. “Harvest carrots / . . . squash and peas. / [lift flap] Pollinated by the bees.” Perhaps due to their having been printed on recycled paper with soy inks, the matte sides of the flaps tend to be darker than the rest, which are glossy.

Put on those gardening gloves; the fruits of this labor beckon. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-93041-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love.

LEO LOVES DADDY

A fun-loving daddy’s dedication is apparent in this slice-of-life board book.

Leo, a brown-skinned boy with tight curls, full lips, and a broad nose, delights in playing with Daddy, who has equally clearly Black features. Leo wakes up to Daddy tickling his tummy. Then this superinvolved father fixes pancakes, dances, takes Leo on a bike ride, and tends to Leo’s scraped knee. Together they build with blocks, take a bath, and snuggle with a book before bed. Companion title Leo Loves Mommy follows a similar trajectory through the day. Leo builds a blanket fort with couch cushions, practices yoga, and paints with his mother, who also presents Black. After a bike ride, mommy’s lunch “is so flashy”: celery and carrot sticks turned into edible critters with fruit and nuts. The loving devotion of both parents is tangible and genuine, sweet but not cloying. Simple two-line sentences with unobtrusive rhymes across spreads provide descriptions of the activities and add vocabulary. Each spread illustrates one event against a clear solid color background, free of distracting decoration. Together they complete a full picture of a busy toddler’s day and his loving relationship with each parent.

Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-241-2

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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