A charming modernization of the traditional bedtime tale.

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#BabyLove: My Social Life

In Dehghanpisheh’s modern and unconventional take on the bedtime story, one baby is the subject of a social media storm.

Being a baby isn’t what it used to be. Just ask the protagonist of #BabyLove. His predecessors got to laze around, eating, sleeping, and doing baby things. But this infant is surrounded by social media–savvy adults just waiting to catch his latest adorable antic and share it with the world. Whether it’s breakfast time (#goodMorning), reading time (#bookworm), eating, sleeping (#afternoonroutine), and even during playtime (#happyBaby #noFilter), most illustrations are depicted from the perspective of the screen. The perspective of the screen works well—as do the hearts, stars, likes, and hashtags that adorn each image (supposedly showing how many people have interacted with it). This constant attention isn’t always easy for one baby to handle. But that’s why there’s bedtime—a period of the day reserved just for Mom, Dad, and Baby…at least until Mom snaps the #BestShotOfTheDay. The simple illustrations—a small, roundheaded baby, an adorable dog, and a multicultural cast of friends and family—are endearing. There is an easy cadence to the book, which is written in rhyming couplets; e.g.: “All day long, phones are out / Trying to capture my famous pout.” The baby’s antics are amusing, and equally amusing are the adults’ reactions to them, spread over the Web. The concept will certainly be one only adults can grasp, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially with bedtime stories, which tend to be read over and over again.

A charming modernization of the traditional bedtime tale.

Pub Date: July 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9851930-6-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2015

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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