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Make this irresistibly snuggly book a part of your nightly bedtime ritual.

Nothing’s so soothing at bedtime as a tender parental snuggle.

On each successive page, a different animal parent—a bunny, a bear, a bee, a hen, a sheep, a pig, a duck, a fish, a frog, a robin, and, at last, a human—tucks a precious babe in and tenderly kisses the little one. Expressing themselves in gentle, lilting verse with the cadence of a soft lullaby, these parents wish their babies a loving good night. Each spread begins with the word snuggle: “Snuggle-duckling, snuggle-duckling, / not another quack!” Youngsters listening to these soothing words will not only be lulled into peaceful slumbers themselves, but will also glean some easy science lessons as the animal parents describe their children’s physical characteristics. The bear mentions its youngster’s “tiny claws,” the hen points out her chick’s “pointy beak,” and the duck refers to the duckling’s “downy back.” Each parent also identifies its little one’s bedding. The little bunny gets tucked into a bed of “garden leaves,” the bee in a “golden hive,” and the sheep in a “grassy field.” Rendered in a warm palette, Santoso’s illustrations, created digitally and with handmade textures, are as plush and comforting as the downy blanket enfolding the human “snuggle-baby” in the final spread. (It’s no coincidence that the cuddly infant is surrounded by stuffed toy versions of the animals in the story.) Human characters present white.

Make this irresistibly snuggly book a part of your nightly bedtime ritual. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2024

ISBN: 9780063255234

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2024

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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