Six little books in a boxed set promote an optimistic view of the world.
Each of these 3-inch-square works presents four cartoon scenes, each one on a double-page spread. The text comprises one-sentence captions expressing sentiments that have been said before and with more artistry. Friends shares these thoughts: “Let’s DANCE and be FRIENDS. / FRIENDS make you feel all WARM inside. / Friends are KIND to each other. / You are my truest FRIEND.” The other titles, which include Life, You and Me and Fun, follow a similar format. Each cartoon is speckled with hearts, flowers, stars and other upbeat symbols; various cutesy animals with human accessories dramatize the scenes in flat colors. Unfortunately, the imagery is too sophisticated for average board-book readers. The first page of Love shows a couple of bears obsessed with a variety of sophisticated high-tech gadgets, and Happiness includes an illustration of a gorilla contentedly knitting. One clever feature: The back covers of the six books fit together in two rows to create a picture of a contented hippo.
Despite the positivity, much of the sentiment and imagery will go over the heads of babies and toddlers. (Board book. 2-3)