Toddlers will fawn over this board book.


Follow a young deer as it explores a wintry landscape.

Enveloped in a puffy, padded cover that matches the softness of the delicate watercolor images within, the book depicts a fawn partaking in a mild snowy adventure. Pale white backgrounds of thinly lined, gray-washed trees and snowdrifts are tranquil while the tawny fawn’s coat, the red rose hips, and the snow-encrusted, olive-green leaves provide notes of colorful contrast. Limiting herself to one two-word phrase per page, all beginning with the word “snow,” the author manages to tell a fairly concise story, though some combinations feel more germane than others. After emerging from a clearing, a “snow chase” after bunnies leads the fawn through a “snow find”—a meeting with songbirds perched on a branch—and into peril as the fawn leaves the safe forest for a “snow silent” open field. Showing the fawn small and alone amid the empty white landscape communicates just enough drama for a young audience but also warmly resolves it as the fawn finds its way back to parents, nuzzling and “snow safe.” Though there’s some mild anthropomorphization, the adventures feel plausible enough until the buck is shown caring for the fawn, which is not accurate. Still, if readers aren’t sticklers for authenticity, they’ll delight in finding the woodland animals and in that precious spotted deer.

Toddlers will fawn over this board book. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0834-4

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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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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An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.


This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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