Loving thoughts, especially appropriate for bedtime.

READ REVIEW

LOVE YOU ALWAYS

Many books have similar titles and highlight the parent-child bond, but this gently flowing rhyme by Stickley elicits new warm, snuggly feelings.

Lush, boldly colored illustrations capture Mommy hedgehog and her son, Hedgie, as they amble through the fall woods. When Hedgie notes the turn of seasons, she explains: “ ‘Everything is changing,’ Mommy said. ‘It’s nature’s way. / But change makes nature lovelier with every passing day.’ ” Hedgie’s questions continue. “Mommy… / would you love me MORE…if I change?” Hedgie repeats his question as they encounter other mother-child pairs (squirrels, dragonflies, frogs, and rabbits), and, each time, Mommy explains that she could not love him more. At the end of the walk, Mommy and Hedgie return to their burrow and Hedgie asks the million-dollar question. “But, Mommy…will love always last forever, / even if I change just like the seasons or the weather?” She reassures him: “ALWAYS.” The final couplet ties the bow on it: “ ‘Always,’ whispered Hedgie / as he curled up in his bed. / ‘Imagine that,’ he murmured. ‘Just imagine,’ Mommy said.” All characters are simply and realistically drawn animals but with anthropomorphic facial expressions and body language. The cartoon landscape they dwell in is a benign one, round-lobed oak leaves, flowing water, and other organic shapes exuding comfort.

Loving thoughts, especially appropriate for bedtime. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-12400-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Little Nutbrown Hare ventures out into the wide world and comes back with a new companion in this sequel to Guess How Much I Love You (1994).

Big Nutbrown Hare is too busy, so after asking permission, Little Nutbrown Hare scampers off over the rolling meadow to play by himself. After discovering that neither his shadow nor his reflection make satisfactory playmates (“You’re only another me!”), Little Nutbrown comes to Cloudy Mountain…and meets “Someone real!” It’s a white bunny who introduces herself as Tipps. But a wonderful round of digging and building and chasing about reaches an unexpected end with a game of hide-and-seek, because both hares hide! After waiting a long time to be found, Little Nutbrown Hare hops on home in disappointment, wondering whether he’ll ever see Tipps again. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long to find out, since she has followed him. “Now, where on earth did she come from?” wonders Big Nutbrown. “Her name is Tipps,” Little Nutbrown proudly replies, “and she’s my friend.” Jeram’s spacious, pale-toned, naturalistic outdoor scenes create a properly idyllic setting for this cozy development in a tender child-caregiver relationship—which hasn’t lost a bit of its appealing intimacy in the more than 25 years since its first appearance. As in the first, Big Nutbrown Hare is ungendered, facilitating pleasingly flexible readings.

Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1747-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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