A sturdy choice for toddler animal lovers with endearing art and a slight story.

MAX'S RAINFOREST ADVENTURE

Max, a satchel-bearing brown, tailed monkey, explores his rainforest home.

On these extra-thick board pages, Max meets Charlie the crocodile, James the jaguar, and Tyler the toucan. Each critter, along with Max, shares details from their lives and makes an associated sound: “SNAP!”; “ROAR!”; “CROAK!” In the end, Max journeys home to tell his friends and family about his adventures. This slight narrative is told through simple prose and easy dialogue. Waring’s whimsical animals are inviting, with oversized eyes and childlike appeal in muted colors. Max, refreshingly, is never played for a fool but instead navigates his environment with friendly confidence and greets each animal as an equal. Also refreshing is the care taken to include only animals found in one specific rainforest habitat, in this case a South American one, rather than jumbling them together from around the world. The different spreads bleed into one another with little indication they are not part of the same scene, which may confuse toddlers still learning book conventions. The format looks sturdy enough to withstand rough play. The full-size illustration of Max, shaped to look like his body, on the cover will appeal to the core audience.

A sturdy choice for toddler animal lovers with endearing art and a slight story. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-948418-77-5

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Clever Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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