Next book


From the The Promises series

Not very promising at all.

A loving narrator utters a string of promises to a bevy of tots.

The guarantees are largely conceptual and seemingly chosen for sentiment and rhythmic effect rather than for their toddler audience. “I promise you AGAIN and ONE LAST TIME,” reads the opening text as a paper-white child plays on a swing against a backdrop of falling leaves (all of them green, oddly). The following spread concludes the uneven rhyme as a Black-presenting child gazes at a neat tower of apples, from which a worm looks back: “I promise you some YUM, THAT’S GOOD! and YUCK! NEVER MIND!” On a spread showing another Black-presenting child teetering on top of an architecturally impossible stacking-toy sculpture, a burst of assurances cover good habits and routine social interactions: “I promise you CLEAN YOUR ROOM, BLOW YOUR NOSE, ZIP UP YOUR COAT—YES, ALL THE WAY, / some HELLO, GOODBYE, and SEE YOU ANOTHER DAY….” Here the slip in scansion in this uncredited translation from the French is noticeable. Roussey’s illustrations are mostly wispily allusive; her trademark selectively-colored children all sport enormous, round heads, ears that stick out, and flat noses. Unfortunately, this stylized aesthetic too easily resembles racist simianization when applied to a Black-presenting child in one image. Die-cut shapes offering peekaboo glimpses of succeeding pages are mostly merely decorative.

Not very promising at all. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5380-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

Next book


From the Hello Genius series

Despite the happy ending, a story meant to serve as reassurance to little ones giving up their own pacifiers comes off as...

It’s time for little Duck to give up his beloved pacifier.

Like many tots, “Duck likes his pacifier,” and the first double-page spread shows him sucking on it happily. Mama Duck, though, believes he’s outgrown it: “Only in bed, sleepyhead,” she admonishes, plucking the pacifier from Duck’s beak as he sits down to a meal. On subsequent pages, she repeats this phrase and pulls away the pacifier as surprised, sad-looking Duck sits in his car seat and reads a book. Adult readers will wonder here—why wouldn’t Mama Duck just put away the pacifier instead of repeatedly snatching it from her wee one throughout the day? Then, surprise, Mama Duck announces that Duck doesn’t need his pacifier at all: “Not even in bed, sleepyhead.” Here, a pleased-looking Mama Duck is pictured with the pacifier hanging from a cord around her neck, out of little Duck’s reach. The following double-page spread features Duck wailing in his crib. Turn the page, and readers see that “soon enough, Duck stops crying…and falls asleep” with no pacifier and no comfort from Mama. When morning comes, he proudly announces: “I’m a BIG DUCK now!”

Despite the happy ending, a story meant to serve as reassurance to little ones giving up their own pacifiers comes off as harsh and decidedly unpleasant. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4795-5793-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Next book


From the Lola & Leo series

A helpful way to prepare toddlers for a visit to the doctor with a character who’s easy to love.

In this episode in the life of toddler Leo, younger brother to Lola (Lola Reads to Leo, 2012, etc.), his parents take him to the doctor’s office for a checkup.

Leo, a brown boy with tightly curled hair, dressed in a onesie and holding onto a table, “is a big boy now.” His mother and father, who are exactly the same shade of brown, are in the background as Leo feeds himself, plays ball, sings, and dances. When it is time to go, he “puts his toys away” and gets “his blankie and Mister Seahorse.” Daddy packs a bag and brings him to the clinic, where Leo sits on the floor playing with Mister Seahorse while they wait for their turn. (This doctor evidently has a separate well-child waiting room, as every soul in the diverse gathering is smiling happily—there’s not a runny nose in sight.) When it is Leo’s turn, he shows his doctor, a white woman, “what he can do now.” He gets a sticker and a book and gets checked all over. He even continues smiling while he gets his shot, which “will keep him healthy.” The rounded features and shining, rosy cheeks of the invariably smiling characters make for a pleasant trip with Leo through his safe and welcoming world.

A helpful way to prepare toddlers for a visit to the doctor with a character who’s easy to love. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-891-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Close Quickview