There is just too much going on here to make it suitable bedtime fare.

TOUGH CHICKS GO TO BED

Mama Hen struggles to put her trio of Tough Chicks to bed on the farm.

Mama points to the examples set by the other farm residents, such as the sheep, the horses, and pigs, all hunkering down for the night, and encourages her offspring to follow suit. Tabbed pages with small images of each critter allow little ones to easily turn the board pages. A tactile element is embedded on each page for sensory exploration, such as the chicks’ satiny pillow, embossed paper connoting the breeze blowing through the barn, and the fleece of the sheep. Molly, one of the rambunctious chicks, succeeds in waking up all the dozing farm residents, much to her mother’s chagrin, but Mama eventually gently coaxes the little ones into their bed made of out hay in a sequence that plays out on a gatefold page. On almost every recto, a gray mouse suggests calming actions related to the story that sleepless toddler readers can try: “How many sheep can you count before you fall asleep?” While the animals’ expressions are playfully droll and the palette soothing, Suber’s art is too busy, with stylized and patterned backgrounds that don’t always flow well together. With all the sensory elements and gimmicks at play, it’s no wonder the chicks can’t get to sleep.

There is just too much going on here to make it suitable bedtime fare. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-34299-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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