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I LOVE YOU, LITTLE MONSTER

This rowdy little one is likable enough, but he is no Max, and many parents may think his mother is a lunatic.

A mother shines a sunny light on her babe's rambunctious behavior.

She highlights her “little monster's” admirable qualities even as her toddler rampages through their home with boundless energy. “You have caverns to explore and lofty mountains to climb,” she says indulgently as he poses atop the upside-down laundry basket, clothes strewn about. The relaxed mama's parenting style, expressed in structured, rhythmic rhymes, is unfalteringly laidback, even when her little one smears oatmeal on the wall. “Who's my HUNGRY little monster, / Little Monster, monster mine? / Such an artist with your food! / Your oatmeal paintings are so fine.” Thin black lines outline details on the white background; only "the monster" and his monster toy are colored in. There's a little adult irony; the exhausted parents protect themselves with pillows as their tot jumps on their bed. With polka-dot wings, flippers, a scarf tail and antennae, he is pretty cute.

This rowdy little one is likable enough, but he is no Max, and many parents may think his mother is a lunatic. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2850-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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FAMILIES BELONG

A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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SMILE, POUT-POUT FISH

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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