While little ones may find the packaging gimmick appealing, the content inside is empty.


This boxed set of nine minibooks explores the emotional lives of nine different animals in miniscule print.

The front cover of each book features a one-word title (Cat, Penguin, Tortoise and so forth) and a close-up, cartoon doodle of one featured critter. These plotless offerings are mostly collections of non sequiturs. So goes the text for Hippo: “I am a hippopotamus / I am wallowy and big / I love to wobble and slop / Here is my dance / Dancing feels BEAUTIFUL!” There are a couple of strange gaffes; the title of the book about a bull is called Cow, and in Shark, the protagonist says, “I say thanking you” when he probably means “I say thank you.” The art, in flat, solid colors, has a little more appeal than the text, but some of Andreae’s attempts at quirky come across as strange, particularly the pink cricket that could easily be mistaken for a shrimp. The back covers of each roughly 2-inch-square book connect with another in the set to make a full-body portrait of one of the characters. The set comes in a box with a magnetic closure, a plastic carrying handle, and flimsy, removable partitions that separate books from each other.

While little ones may find the packaging gimmick appealing, the content inside is empty. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4052-6082-4

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Egmont UK

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...


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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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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