I LOVE YOU LITTLE ONE

This board-book entry in the competitive-loving genre features silhouettes of animal parent-child pairs against variously colored nighttime scenes.

Each spread begins with the same question, presumably voiced by the child: “How much do you love me?” The parent’s response reaches for lyricism, not always successfully, and always includes a comparative statement. “I love you more than the moon’s glowing light,” says the parent rabbit in the first spread, while the elephant parent avows, “I love you more than all the stars at night,” in the second, establishing the rhyming pattern. Other animals include whales, monkeys, penguins, owls, wolves, and cats; each animal in the pair is labeled with the generic for the adult and the specialized term for that animal’s young for the child. Patane’s scenes are striking enough, the black animals and foreground settings making for striking contrast with the scenery in the background. Lloyd’s verse scans fine, but it can seem desperate, as when the owl responds, “I love you more than the fluffiest feathers,” in order to rhyme with the penguin’s “I love you more than snowy weather.” The book is weighted down by its final page, which holds a battery that allows readers to illuminate the moon on the cover with tiny LED bulbs when an icon is pressed. Despite this gimmick, this book feels little different from many of its peers.

Pretty but ephemeral. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4654-8016-3

Page Count: 18

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A joyful celebration.

FAMILIES BELONG

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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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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