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)