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A touching picture book that addresses separation anxiety with heart, humor, and heroic flair.

Young readers get the reassurance they need to deal with a caregiver’s comings and goings.

The rhyming verses describe the various reasons an adult may have to venture out into the world without their child. The outings range from the everyday and humdrum—such as going to work and running to the store—to the implausible and ludicrous, like scaring off a band of pirates with kung fu moves and going for a ride on a whale’s back. No matter how far the adult wanders, the child can be certain of their repeated promise: “I’ll always, always, ALWAYS come back to you.” Although the illustrations depict an unnamed young girl and her mom, who both have tan skin, the narration feels universal—the speaker could be any adult who plays a supportive role in a child’s life. Zong’s lively, expressive gouache artwork shows the girl (who appears forlorn whenever her mother is absent) being cared for by a revolving door of reliable babysitters and depicts a confident, determined, and energetic single mother. Children will enjoy following the little family’s pets—a cat and a dog­—who serve as the girl’s cute sidekicks and mirror her emotions. Although the fantastical scenarios are amusing, they can also be seen as metaphorical, capturing the often Herculean nature of parenthood. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A touching picture book that addresses separation anxiety with heart, humor, and heroic flair. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5452-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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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. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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