This would be equally successful sharing one on one or with a group and may also be an engaging conversation starter about...


Wood produces a cozy, gently humorous title that features a multitude of cuddly father-and-child animal pairs showcasing the innumerable ways a dad can show his love.

Ideal for the younger set at Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day or any day at all, this title states what most kids know: that “[w]hen a dad says ‘I love you,’ he doesn’t always say it in the plain old ordinary way.” The extraordinary demonstrations of paternal love include actions that most children may take for granted. Making pancakes, “even if they’re a little bit…crispy,” racing around the yard, singing a song “for the three hundred and sixty-ninth time,” inventing silly nicknames, giving bike-riding lessons, answering questions “that start with ‘Why,’ ” sharing magic tricks and reading a good story are just some of the many examples. Bell’s digitally finished illustrations have a soft yet sketched quality that captures the warmth and fun as the creatures interact. The cast features bears, alligators, frogs, mice, zebras, foxes, pigs, cats and koalas, among others. In the end, as the youngster is being tucked in, the story circles back to the initial pair of bears. Here, “just to fool you, a dad might say… / ‘I love you.’ In the plain old ordinary way.”

This would be equally successful sharing one on one or with a group and may also be an engaging conversation starter about how actions often speak louder than words. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-689-87532-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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