A few reworked lines and some brightened colors would likely boost this charming tale from “good” to “great.”

Daddy Did I Ever Say? I Love You, Love You, Every Day

A little girl explains to her father why she loves him so very much.

A cute, curly-haired, kindergarten-aged girl opens the story by asking her father if she’s ever told him how much she loves him. She loves him, she explains, because of how he plays, tickles, squeezes, chases, even roughhouses with her. She loves him because whenever she’s afraid at night, she knows she can always find him, and he’ll make her feel better. He takes care of her, picking her up when she falls down and fixing her hair and helping her get dressed in the morning. Her mother sometimes disapproves of the things the little girl and her father do together. She thinks they play too roughly, and when her husband does her daughter’s hair and picks out her clothes, it’s quite the disaster! But the little girl doesn’t care; she loves the way she looks because her father helped her look this way. And at night, when she gets sleepy, he wipes away her sleepy tears and tucks her into bed. The idea behind the story of the little girl and her doting father is charming, although the execution may fall just a bit flat. The verse Cobb (Do Pirates Go To School?, 2010) has penned is appealing and rhymes prettily at times, but elsewhere rhyme and syntax have a tendency to feel somewhat forced. That said, the sentiment is sweet and the text is simple enough to read aloud with the youngest of readers. Van Wagoner’s illustrations are eye-catching, though it’s the little girl’s expression that shines through on every page. The colors are perhaps a bit muted, but the text easily stands out and works well enough with the illustrations.

A few reworked lines and some brightened colors would likely boost this charming tale from “good” to “great.” 

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2007

ISBN: 978-1424339181

Page Count: 32

Publisher: 10 to 2 Children's Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2012

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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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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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