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

MY LITTLE WORLD OF HAPPY

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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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

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: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride.

IT'S RAMADAN, CURIOUS GEORGE

For one special month, George accompanies a young friend through fasts, feasts, and good works at the mosque.

Such headers as “Waiting for Sunset” and “Sharing with Others,” along with glimpses of stars and crescents in the background and a “Ramadan Mubarak” banner, offer oblique references to some basic themes and symbols, but Ramadan’s purpose, many of its practices, and even the word “Muslim” go unmentioned in this tabbed board book. Khan’s rhyme lumbers along (“George can’t wait for tomorrow, / When the month of Ramadan will start. / It’s a special time of year for his friends, / And George is going to take part!”). Meanwhile, Young plugs George and the Man in the Yellow Hat into scenes with Kareem, his father, and his hijab-wearing mother. (Kareem and his dad appear to be black; his mother is lighter-skinned.) They make cookies, gather with friends at sunset to break their daily fast and pray (offstage), then enjoy “Kabobs, curry, veggies, and rice” with chocolate-dipped bananas for dessert. At the mosque, George helps Kareem make food baskets and tries to pass out the racked shoes until an imam gently stops him. Finally, beneath a thin crescent moon at month’s end, George gets a new vest (and the Man a yellow fez) for the celebration of Eid.

A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-65226-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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