The combination of lovingly humorous and detailed mixed-media illustrations and infectious rhymes will cause little ones and...

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HAPPY IN OUR SKIN

More than skin deep, this rhyming paean to diversity offers readers an array of families of all colors and orientations, living and loving one another in a vibrant city setting.

A giggling baby is tummy-tickled by her white and black mothers (or white mother and black father—impressively, the illustration leaves room for interpretation) in New York’s Central Park in its summertime glory. "This is how we all begin: / small and happy in our skin." This celebration of skin not only extols the beauty and value of various skin colors, but also teaches the importance of skin as an essential body part: “It keeps the outsides out / and your insides in.” Park, public-pool, and block-party scenes allow readers to luxuriate in a teeming city where children of all colors, abilities, and religions enjoy their families and neighbors. The author and illustrator do not simply take a rote, tokenistic approach to answering the cry for diverse books; the words and pictures depict a much-needed, realistic representation of the statement “it takes a village to raise a child” when a child skins her knee and many rush to her aid and comfort. Though her palette of browns is a little limited, Tobia creates sheer joy with her depictions of everything from unibrows, dimples, and birthmarks to callouts to recognizable literary characters.

The combination of lovingly humorous and detailed mixed-media illustrations and infectious rhymes will cause little ones and their families to pore over this book again and again. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7002-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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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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Yet another celebrity picture book that will steal sales from far, far better ones.

YOU ARE MY HAPPY

As the day draws to a close, a parent bear recalls those events shared with their child that gratified them, from observing hatching nestlings to the stars that come out at bedtime.

The scansion works and the emotions expressed are sweet, but that’s the limit of this book’s achievement. Mason is unable to create a coherent visual narrative that explicates and expands on the nonsensical text, which opens and closes with a parental address to “my fuzzy one” but in between is unclear as to who is expressing the syrupy sentiments. The sequence of sentence fragments “For special friends who made me giggle / and silly songs that made me wiggle. // For space to play, for shade to rest, / for secret spots we love the best” is illustrated in two double-page spreads with images of the young bear first playing with a young raccoon and second intently observing a caterpillar. Although that implies the young bear is speaking, the iteration of the refrain that ungrammatically brings the sequence to a close—“That’s what made me happy”—seems to bring the narration back to the parent bear. But really, giving up on sense seems to be the best one can expect from a book with a title that inartfully co-opts an adjective as a noun.

Yet another celebrity picture book that will steal sales from far, far better ones. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288789-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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