Sure to become a fast favorite among the pony-preoccupied.

READ REVIEW

PONY POEMS FOR LITTLE PONY LOVERS

Children, mostly female-presenting, fawn over ponies in brief poems and genteel illustrations.

The title makes explicit what this book is about and who it is for, and it does not deviate from this expectation. Many poems deploy rhyming patterns recognizable to those familiar with Euro-American nursery rhymes: “A-riding we will go, / a-riding we will go. / Up and down the mountainside, / a-riding we will go.” Some poems celebrate ordinary day-to-day life with a horse; others are fueled by fantasy and imagination, augmented by Rhys’ watercolor-and–mixed-media art. For example, the illustration accompanying the lines “Gentle Gwen is a giant. / She’s taller than a tree” makes wonderful use of perspective, showing a large horse towering over a child, providing shelter from massive raindrops. The illustrations are gentle to the point of docility, anthropomorphizing the horses with sweet smiles and tender presences. Even “Sweet Little Penny,” who bucks off her young rider, does so in a gently gleeful way. The rolling hills and cobblestone paths call to mind the English countryside. Varied skin tones are depicted, though the riding gear and clothing are uniformly Eurocentric, an unfortunate missed opportunity considering that horse-riding traditions exist worldwide.

Sure to become a fast favorite among the pony-preoccupied. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9814-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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