Third in a series, the book easily stands alone. Among all the picture-book friendship stories, this one stands out for the...

STARRING ME AND YOU

From the Piggy and Bunny series

The two animal friends, a pig and a bunny, from Me and You and Without You (2009, 2011) are back in a return engagement as they attempt to put on a play, but will their emotions get in the way?

An orange sheet clipped to a clothesline becomes the backdrop as the pig says: “Where are you? The stage is ready. Let’s put on a play!” “ I’m too shy,” answers the bunny. The pig replies, “So? I’M shy, too!” So begins an exchange of feelings on opposite pages in point-counterpoint style. On verso, the bunny says, “[W]hen I’m scared, I freeze like this”; ears and tiptoes crossed, the bunny holds its front paws up to its chin and gazes, wide-eyed, out at readers. On the opposite page, the pig says, “Oh, when I’M scared, I SCREAM like this,” arms out, head back, mouth wide open and tail jagged with fright. The pig wants to play pirates on a shipwreck, but the bunny wants to sing a duet dressed as sunflowers. This causes a rift in the friendship that goes from mad to glad. The characters are nameless and therefore universal, and as conveyed totally in dialogue, the soft-edged message hits home with childlike simplicity. Though there are no quotation marks, the consistent placement of dialogue on the page and differentiating typefaces keep readers on track; the bunny’s sunflower bonnet and pig’s pirate hat work nicely as unifying design elements (down to the endpapers).

Third in a series, the book easily stands alone. Among all the picture-book friendship stories, this one stands out for the younger set. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-894786-39-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt.

LOVE YOU MORE

A love song from parents to their child.

This title will seem quite similar to the many others about parents’ deep love for their children. The text is wholly composed of first-person declarations of parental love, and it’s juxtaposed with illustrations of the child with one or both parents. It’s not always clear who the “I” speaking is, and there are a few pages that instead use “we.” Most sentences begin with “I love you more” phrasing to communicate that nothing could undermine parental love: “I love you more than all the sleepless nights…and all the early, tired mornings.” The accompanying pictures depict the child as a baby with weary parents. Later spreads show the child growing up, and the phrasing shifts away from the challenges of parenting to its joys and to attempts to quantify love: “I love you more than all the blades of grass at the park…and all the soccer that we played.” Throughout, Bell’s illustrations use pastel tones and soft visual texture to depict cozy, wholesome scenes that are largely redundant of the straightforward, warm text. They feature a brown-haired family with a mother, father, and child, who all appear to be white (though the father has skin that’s a shade darker than the others’).

It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0652-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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