Wilner’s (The Poetry Troupe, not reviewed) collection of games, especially for baby, engages children’s entire being, from the top of their fuzzy little heads to the tips of their tiny toes, in loving play. In a special foreword to parents and caregivers, the author stresses that the purpose of play with baby is to interact with the child rather than whether to play the game correctly. Over 30 different rhymes are included in the text, stimulating a variety of baby’s senses and providing a gentle introduction to language. There are rhymes focusing on baby’s fingers and toes, activities that identify the parts of baby’s face and even a counting game that introduces the days of the week and the numbers one through ten. Ride-along games, like “This Is the Way Ladies Ride,” and an assortment of tickle games are sure to generate lots of toothless grins. Some activities are classic and familiar, such as “Peek-a-boo” and “Pat-a-cake.” Others are new adaptations of an older game, e.g., “The Love Game” uses arm motions to indicate how much you love baby, much like the traditional “How Big Is Baby” game. Williams’s (Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, 2000) delicately hued watercolors are a vital part of the book’s appeal and success. Each rhyme comprises either a full-page or two-page spread, with accompanying illustrations. The soft pastel drawings are a mixture of form and function; whimsical scenes entertain while offering possibilities on how to execute the activities. A multicultural assortment of round-headed infants with sweet little smiles peer out of the pages. A winsome treasury of games that reinforce the bonds of love between parent and child. (author’s note) (Picture book. 0-2)

Pub Date: April 30, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-15916-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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