Despite quibbles, this and its companion are refreshingly developmentally appropriate and strive hard to truly reflect our...


From the Point to Books series

A diverse crew of babies and toddlers demonstrates a variety of feelings and physical states in clear, stock photos.

A smiling toddler with dark brown hair and eyes and light brown skin is paired with the following text on a full-page photo: “This boy is happy. I feel happy too.” This pattern repeats with both boy and girl tots of a variety of ethnic backgrounds and one disability (one girl appears to have Down syndrome) displaying sadness, anger, hunger, thirst. Despite the title, more than feelings are modeled; the youngsters are also shown playing, being quiet, and hugging. The companion book in the Point to Books series, which encourages parents to help their little ones to point to the pictures to develop communication skills, is titled Show Me Your Day. Again, a diverse cast takes readers through a baby's or toddler’s day from sunup to sundown. While some may question the sequencing (tooth-brushing is mentioned before a meal) and the lack of a nap, the text is perfect in its simplicity and directness: “It is time to eat.” In both books, the photos are from a variety of sources and vary in quality. Some look to be studio shots and others appear to be natural and candid.

Despite quibbles, this and its companion are refreshingly developmentally appropriate and strive hard to truly reflect our diverse world. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: June 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59572-754-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Star Bright

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.


Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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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. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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