The tried-and-true fable about curbing vanity and appreciating friends enjoys a fresh touch with these ebullient African...

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MONTY'S MAGNIFICENT MANE

A lion named Monty is so proud of his mane that he nearly causes disaster for himself and his little meerkat friends.

A charming double-page spread shows Monty relaxing on his back and happily fiddling with a lock of his autumn-hued tresses with one padded paw. The large-print text reads, “Meet Monty, King of the Jungle. Monty loves his long, curly, beautiful mane. No one else has a mane quite like his. Monty thinks it’s magnificent.” The next few pages show Monty allowing about a dozen tiny meerkats to play in and around his mane, until the mane becomes “dirty and matted!” In an especially amusing sequence, the meerkats try to make amends by braiding Monty’s mane and decorating it with feathers, to no avail. As he stalks off to the watering hole, one little meerkat says timidly, “Remember to be careful of the….” Of what? Of the “little creature” in the water who expresses admiration for Monty’s mane and invites the lion to “come a little closer”? The suspense builds to a “SNAP!” that readers will anticipate, as the concealed crocodile opens its scary but comical pointy-toothed jaw. Little ones will enjoy the animated scenes, the threatening but ineffectual crocodile, and a vertical two-page spread that deliciously illustrates the lion’s mighty, capitalized “ROARS!” The colorful illustrations are enhanced by tiny scraps of newsprint and maps.

The tried-and-true fable about curbing vanity and appreciating friends enjoys a fresh touch with these ebullient African animals. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7593-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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