A zippy art style doesn’t completely mitigate awkward choices, making this one to safely pass on.

READ REVIEW

DO YOU KNOW A SUPERHERO?

Superhero community members are featured in this board book.

Going beyond the usual suspects (firefighters, doctors), this book nicely features some less-obvious superheroes: an author, a music teacher, and a physical therapist, to name a few. There is also the odd inclusion of parents who design toys as heroes, presumably because kids love toys, but it feels odd juxtaposed with the nurse and the firefighter. Just how exactly do “they save the day, every day”? Each double-page spread features a different superhero, generally following the same repeated text structure. The bright, neon-colored illustrations that accompany each page of text feature the hero engaged in their work in a child-friendly, animation-inspired style. There are nice little touches of traditional superhero garb on each illustration, such as chest insignias, capes, and boots. While the featured superheroes are fairly diverse, some fulfill stereotypes (the author is a white, bespectacled woman; the nurse, a black woman; the zookeeper, a black man). A few of the characters are described as a mom or a dad, while others are not, which reads like a messy attempt to demonstrate that parents are superheroes, too. The concept of community helpers as heroes is a familiar one, and while it’s nice that some atypical occupations are included, it’s not enough to make this one stand out.

A zippy art style doesn’t completely mitigate awkward choices, making this one to safely pass on. (Board book. 18 mos-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-947458-24-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Duo Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Superlative silliness.

MY DAD IS AMAZING

Extol the virtues of parents in this and its companion volume, My Mom is Magical.

Each of these winning board books is dedicated to the respective, titular parent of the author-and-illustrator team, sisters Sabrina and Eunice Moyle, who together are the design studio Hello!Lucky. The over-the-top enthusiasm of these volumes may, therefore, be reasonably excused, as the creative team’s love for their subjects seems as sincere as it is hyperbolic. A series of wild metaphors and analogies celebrate Dad or Mom; the near-blinding bright colors and kinetic, even chaotic illustrations perfectly complement the exuberant text. “My Dad is cooler than a million Popsicles!” “My Mom is cuddlier than a mountain yak!” A friendly, hipsterized yeti that looks like an extra from Where the Wild Things Are plays Dad, while Mom is rendered as a sparkly unicorn with rainbow mane and tail—who strikes heroic poses. Descriptive phrasing ranges from sweet to laugh-out-loud silly: Dad, for example, is “funnier than a bunch of underpants!” Funny indeed! Each volume ends by switching voices to break the fourth wall: “Kid, you’re amazing” (or “magical”) “too!” Both books are visual treats, sure to engage with their brilliant hues and inventive (if occasionally stereotypical) images. Dad is imagined at one point as a masked, lucha libre wrestler, for example, and Mom teaches a classroom of owlets mathematical formulae in glasses and an “I [heart] Math” T-shirt. Families may want both books, or either, as applicable.

Superlative silliness. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2961-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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