As in Helen Oxenbury’s world, this home offers a stimulating environment where an endearing explorer employs his senses to...



An irrepressible, biracial baby crawls toward trouble at every turn, only to hear the titular refrain from safety-conscious family members.

Translucent watercolors and loose lines capture the postures and behaviors of this busy child in a most convincing manner. The cycle of mild tension and relief repeats itself as he dumps and explores the contents of mother’s purse, ascends the bookcase or proceeds toward the dog food. Each time, the tot’s trajectory is diverted before disaster strikes. Nichols’ blend of informal and precise rhymes—within a pattern of gerunds describing the baby’s actions, followed by declarative sentences voicing the reprimands—yields a lively patter that scans reasonably well (if not always perfectly): “Climbing / up Grandpa / like a / mountaineer / Grabbing / at those glasses / he likes to wear… ‘Whoa, / Baby, whoa! / You sure like doing that / but without my glasses / I’m blind as a bat.’ ” Humor is transmitted through the images as visually challenged Grandpa addresses the dog, while Baby sports the senior’s spectacles. The rhythm is supported through the use of a larger and darker type for accented beats. Words wobble, and letters are formed unevenly, mirroring the endless motion of the protagonist. Readers will be delighted to hear a new response when Baby takes his first steps.

As in Helen Oxenbury’s world, this home offers a stimulating environment where an endearing explorer employs his senses to learn and grow. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59990-742-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe.


Little ones meet Baby Shark’s extended family and friends in this board-book version of the viral online Pinkfong video.

Sensibly, this offering does not attempt to replicate the song, since readers have likely viewed it multiple times if the 3.5 billion views (and counting) are any indication. Each line of this version is shared on a double-page spread featuring a character: Baby Shark, the rest of the Shark family (Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and Grandpa), and a couple of critters not mentioned in the song (Baby Turtle, a terrified fish named William, and Pinkfong, the brand’s fox logo). The primary text will be meaningful only to readers familiar with the song: “GRANDPA SHARK DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO.” A few words about each character and how they relate to Baby Shark accompany their appearance: “Grandpa Shark is wise and smart. He enjoys sharing his cooking skills with Baby Shark.” Rounded tabs at the top and the right margin of the book allow little fingers to easily turn the pages and readily access their favorite spreads. The two-dimensional gum ball–colored art is true to the source, and fans will not be disappointed. While Mommy and Daddy are color-coded in pink and blue, respectively and stereotypically, the rest of the creatures featured are not assigned colors based on gender.

Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-296589-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Superlative silliness.


Extol the virtues of parents in this and its companion volume, My Mom is Magical.

Each of these winning board books is dedicated to the respective, titular parent of the author-and-illustrator team, sisters Sabrina and Eunice Moyle, who together are the design studio Hello!Lucky. The over-the-top enthusiasm of these volumes may, therefore, be reasonably excused, as the creative team’s love for their subjects seems as sincere as it is hyperbolic. A series of wild metaphors and analogies celebrate Dad or Mom; the near-blinding bright colors and kinetic, even chaotic illustrations perfectly complement the exuberant text. “My Dad is cooler than a million Popsicles!” “My Mom is cuddlier than a mountain yak!” A friendly, hipsterized yeti that looks like an extra from Where the Wild Things Are plays Dad, while Mom is rendered as a sparkly unicorn with rainbow mane and tail—who strikes heroic poses. Descriptive phrasing ranges from sweet to laugh-out-loud silly: Dad, for example, is “funnier than a bunch of underpants!” Funny indeed! Each volume ends by switching voices to break the fourth wall: “Kid, you’re amazing” (or “magical”) “too!” Both books are visual treats, sure to engage with their brilliant hues and inventive (if occasionally stereotypical) images. Dad is imagined at one point as a masked, lucha libre wrestler, for example, and Mom teaches a classroom of owlets mathematical formulae in glasses and an “I [heart] Math” T-shirt. Families may want both books, or either, as applicable.

Superlative silliness. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2961-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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