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Mindfully executed (mostly).

In this rhyming board book, 13 cheerful children move through a day of yoga postures, from a morning sun salutation to a bedtime “sleeping pose.”

The opening lines mirror the cadence of the old song “Skinnamarink”: “I love you in the morning / when you salute the sun. // I love you when you stretch out straight. / Our day has now begun!” Unfortunately, the rhyme and scansion deteriorate as the verse continues. “I love you in the garden / when we say hello to plants and trees” is fine, but it’s followed by the tortured “I love you when you make me laugh— / you’re full of such sillies,” and rhyming “down” with “proud” is a huge stretch. Still, the 13 children shown incorporating yoga into everyday play are a diverse bunch. The adults helping the children dress, garden, play, meditate, fly, manage emotions, and explore are equally varied in terms of age and race, though there are no characters with visible disabilities. Any book lover will appreciate the penultimate stanza: “I love you / when we read book… / after book… / after book until the end of the day.” The final line abandons the meter completely. “It is time for bed, sleepyhead. / Namaste.” The last spread labels the poses modeled by each of the children. Clear backgrounds, a large clean type, and thick pages turn this simple paean to love into a useful instruction manual for the youngest yogis.

Mindfully executed (mostly). (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5489-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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