The latest new-baby gift book tells how children are loved by their family members no matter what.
Gentle rhyming verses with a nice rhythm and repetition are great for reading aloud, though they can be a bit treacly: “You can giggle, cry, or pout, / but you are loved without a doubt, / upside-down and inside-out! / Mama loves you always.” These verses spend some more time on Mama and Daddy before devoting shorter space to Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, Uncle, Cousin, and Family Friend, (leaving out siblings), covering all the bases but only for those families that fit the “traditional” nuclear-family mold; these days they are increasingly rare. In a move that may be frustrating to readers, many of Flint’s watercolor, crayon, ink, and digital illustrations, especially at the beginning, don’t show the adorable, pink-cheeked tots interacting with their family members. Instead, they are engaging in an activity, usually alone, in a vignette against a white background. This also serves to point up the lack of diversity in the characters; the vast majority of the children and adults pictured here are white; just two children are black, and one other has brown skin and black hair. (By and large clothing is also stereotyped blue and pink.)
It’s sweet, but it does not reflect the diverse realities of families and people in the world today. (Picture book. 3-6)