Despite the biological inaccuracies, it’s a whimsical and watery bedtime story.

BEDTIME FOR CRANKY CRAB

A tired crab resists going to sleep as “ocean friends” get ready for bed.

In rhymed couplets, the narration describes the ways various fish, mollusks, sea mammals, and more settle in for the night in ways both accurate (dolphins sleep with one eye open) and inaccurate (Mama sea star and Papa sea horse stay with their spawn). Cranky crab, however, displays some grouchy behavior and wants more playtime, along with another snack. In the end, crab mama is fed up and gives the young crab a kiss to send the little one off to sleep. The art has a smooth, watery look employing the pinks, purples, blues, and greens of the ocean at sunset. Each of the creatures has two oversized, round eyes, even creatures who have none (like sea jellies) or more than two (like oysters). In one particular funny picture, “little cranky crab” narrows bulbous eyes and frowns directly out at readers—no one will mistake this crab for cheery. While the plot has been seen before, there is some lovely language here—“Stingrays nestle, flip, and flap / To blanket in a sandy wrap”—and the titular crab will be a familiar figure to sleep-resistant toddlers.

Despite the biological inaccuracies, it’s a whimsical and watery bedtime story. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35796-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

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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It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt.

LOVE YOU MORE

A love song from parents to their child.

This title will seem quite similar to the many others about parents’ deep love for their children. The text is wholly composed of first-person declarations of parental love, and it’s juxtaposed with illustrations of the child with one or both parents. It’s not always clear who the “I” speaking is, and there are a few pages that instead use “we.” Most sentences begin with “I love you more” phrasing to communicate that nothing could undermine parental love: “I love you more than all the sleepless nights…and all the early, tired mornings.” The accompanying pictures depict the child as a baby with weary parents. Later spreads show the child growing up, and the phrasing shifts away from the challenges of parenting to its joys and to attempts to quantify love: “I love you more than all the blades of grass at the park…and all the soccer that we played.” Throughout, Bell’s illustrations use pastel tones and soft visual texture to depict cozy, wholesome scenes that are largely redundant of the straightforward, warm text. They feature a brown-haired family with a mother, father, and child, who all appear to be white (though the father has skin that’s a shade darker than the others’).

It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0652-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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