Illustrations make this lyrical tale of the Indian jungle really shine.

RUM PUM PUM

Deep in an Indian jungle, a lonely tiger longs for friends.

Although he claims to be friendly, Tiger’s sharp claws, huge teeth, and fearsome growl scare off his fellow creatures. All this changes when Tiger discovers a drum left beneath a sal tree. Tiger doesn’t know what the drum is—it’s a human invention, after all—but notices that when he taps it with his tail, it makes a delightful rum pum pum sound. Carrying his new, rhythmic “friend” with him, Tiger wanders through the forest. Before long, the drum’s rum pum pum attracts a monkey, a rhinoceros, a parrot, a chameleon, and an elephant, all of whom layer their own, distinctive sounds over the beat of Tiger’s drum. The group walks along happily for a time, but the company threatens to disintegrate when the animals fight over Tiger’s drum. Luckily, at just the right moment, a young boy steps into the fray and, with the help of some drumming, saves the day. The book’s earth-toned illustrations are stunning: Each page is packed with movement and atmosphere, and the characters’ faces are wonderfully expressive. The text is poetic, rhythmic, and, at times, humorous. While the story arc feels underdeveloped—it is not clear how the animals walking together created the deep friendship referenced on the book’s final page or how the Tiger’s drumming cured the animals’ fear of him—the language is a pleasure to read aloud. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8-by-21-inch double-page spreads viewed at 71% of actual size.)

Illustrations make this lyrical tale of the Indian jungle really shine. (authors’ note, websites) (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4100-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young...

THE BIGGEST KISS

This title previously published in the U.K. takes a cozy look at all kinds of kisses.

Walsh’s rhyming text is full of cutesy rhythms: “Kisses on noses, kisses on toes-es. Sudden kisses when you least supposes.” Sometimes the phrasing stumbles: “Who likes to kiss? I do! I do! Even the shy do. Why not try, too?” But toddlers and young preschoolers will probably not mind. They will be too engaged in spotting the lively penguin on each spread and too charmed by Abbot’s winsome illustrations that fittingly extend the wording in the story. Patient dogs queue up for a smooch from a frog prince, cool blue “ ’normous elephants” contrast strikingly with bright red “little tiny ants” and a bewildered monkey endures a smattering of lipstick kisses. Be the kiss small or tall, one to start or end the day, young readers are reminded that “the very best kiss… / is a kiss from you!” Perhaps no big surprise but comforting nonetheless.

Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young tyke or sharing with a gathering for storytime.     (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2769-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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