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PEEK-A-MOOD

A simple and delightful board book for many households.

Little ones can guess and name some of the more common human emotions.

Sweetly rendered primates, outlined in black over colored washes, invite toddlers to engage in a game of peekaboo. With the animals’ hands acting as flaps over their faces, children can open them up to reveal their varied expressions. A simple question prompts children to speculate: “How do you think I feel?” “Do you ever feel like me?” When little ones open up the hands, they can guess by the expression they see what the feeling might be. If they don’t know, their adult reader can help out by reading the answer provided on the animal’s palm: “I’m upset”; “I’m sad.” Each primate is depicted against a white background, thus keeping the focus squarely on the animal and the peekaboo game. The emotions to be explored are: happy, upset, sad, angry, scared, surprised, and silly. When children open the last pair of hands they will find a mirror in which they can see their own reflection. The statement “Show me how you feel!” prompts children to put on any expression they choose. What fun! The book doesn’t provide the name of each primate, so interested readers will have to do a little research. The hands and ears that accompany the mirror are peachy-pink, making it less than perfectly inclusive.

A simple and delightful board book for many households. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-6626-5038-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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FAMILIES BELONG

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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THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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