Cleverly shows mirroring in action, though the manipulation required may make sharing difficult.



A mother and child interact in familiar ways in Raschka’s latest, which uses unique formatting to stand out from the crowd.

Mama and baby face each other across the gutter on the first spread, and then the pages’ orientations change. Mama is still on verso, baby on recto, but now they are sideways if the book is traditionally oriented. To see each right side up, readers will need to turn the book first 90 degrees clockwise to see the adult right way up and then a full 180 degrees to likewise see the child. The design is clearly meant to emphasize the mirroring that occurs between parent and child as they interact: smiles; clapping; hiding behind hands and then “Peek-a-boo!”; “Pat-a-cake.” (Even the text is hand-lettered sideways.) One interaction near the ending may be too on-the-nose: On the mom’s side, musical notes appear and her eyes slide sideways. The next three spreads show baby alone, expression modulating from pouty questioning (“Mama?”) to surprise to an open-mouthed wail that brings Mama back. The baby’s “up up” appears before the book returns to a traditionally oriented spread of the two cuddling. Raschka’s watercolors are very simple, showing each from midchest up. Mama has dark hair and slightly darker skin than blond Baby’s fair skin and light hair; both have pinkish spots on their cheeks and large, pouty lips.

Cleverly shows mirroring in action, though the manipulation required may make sharing difficult. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9060-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...


A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun.


An obsessed narrator creates an alphabet book overrun with rabbits, much to the chagrin of an owl who wants to create a “proper, respectable” alphabet book.

The picture book begins, “A is for A rabbit,” an illustration of a large brown rabbit taking up most of the recto. The owl protagonist—presumably the co-creator of the book—points out that “rabbit” begins with “R.” “Yes, but “a rabbit” starts with A,” says the narrator, before moving on to “B is for bunny,” which, as the owl points out, is just another name for rabbit. Despite the owl’s mounting frustration, the narrator genially narrates several rabbits into existence on almost every single page, rendered with such variety that readers will find their proliferation endlessly amusing. The letter D, for instance, introduces readers to “delightful, dynamic, daredevil RABBITS!” (a herd of biker rabbits), and although the narrator says “E is for Elephant” (which momentarily satisfies the owl), the image depicts several rabbits poorly disguised as an elephant. Much to the owl’s chagrin and, ultimately, exhaustion, the narrator grows more and more creative in their presentation of their favorite animal as the picture book proceeds down a rabbit hole of…well, rabbits! Batsel’s debut picture book for readers already familiar with the English alphabet is funny and highly entertaining. The whimsical narrative and the colorful images make this an excellent elementary-age read-aloud.

Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun. (Picture book. 4-8)/p>)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A must-read for mothers of young children (and their kids, too).


The story shows all of the ways a mother loves and cares for her children while also needing to take care of herself.

Sloan writes what mothers feel: “This mama needs a minute.” There are books that prepare children for their first day of school, potty training, siblings, and many of life’s earliest milestones. In that tradition, Sloan’s book shows kids how mothers can both love and care for them and also need a little space. She writes, “It doesn’t mean I love you less. Sometimes it just means Mama needs to get dressed.” Truer words have never been written. Sloan simultaneously affirms a mother’s love while also deftly explaining that it’s OK for love to need boundaries—for parents, yes, but also for kids. The comics-style illustrations hit home, like the stubble-legged mama trying to snag a minute to shower. This goes beyond ringing chords with adult readers; it also provides concrete examples of when mama needs that minute. The palette includes pinks, greens, and bright blues, and all of the characters have skin of many nonhuman colors; hair is likewise fancifully colored but always straight. Many of the moms have visible tattoos, a refreshingly realistic detail.

A must-read for mothers of young children (and their kids, too). (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5248-5457-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Andrews McMeel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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