A sweet and easy book to share with little ones at Christmastime

MY BABY LOVES CHRISTMAS

Holiday cheer with Baby.

“Baby loves candy canes wrapped in a bow. / Baby loves jingle bells. Baby loves snow.” Asim’s rhyming verse enumerates everything that Baby loves about Christmas: the wreath and its ribbons, the tree with gifts beneath it, a family Christmas carol singalong, making gingerbread “men,” hanging stockings, and, of course, Santa. Whitaker contributes ever-so-slightly retro-tinged illustrations that recall stylings seen in mid-20th-century Little Golden Books. Where this offering departs from those hoary classics is in its joyous depiction of a black, onesie-clad toddler protagonist celebrating the rituals of the holiday within a black nuclear family. Baby and Mommy share ebullient black curls (Mommy’s are loose while Baby’s are confined with a ribbon); Daddy sports a close-cropped beard and a fade. Mommy’s skin is a tad darker than Daddy’s and Baby’s. Little listeners will love spotting the protagonist’s happy tabby kitten in each spread, and black families in particular will appreciate such thoughtful details as a black Nutcracker doll and black Santa among all the poinsettias and garland that bestrew the house. With its gold-foil cover and celebration of commonly depicted Christmas traditions, it blends right in with other offerings produced for the season—and as it does, it stands proudly out.

A sweet and easy book to share with little ones at Christmastime . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288462-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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

MEET BABY SHARK

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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Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements.

TRICK OR TREAT, POUT-POUT FISH

From the Pout-Pout Fish Mini Adventure series

The Pout-Pout Fish brand expands.

Halloween is here, and Mr. Pout-Pout Fish is giving out treats from his submarine home. Those familiar with the blue striped fish will find the usual uncluttered illustrations and rhyming scheme (“Who’s at the helm / of the spooky submarine? // It’s you, Mr. Fish! / Have a happy Halloween!”). New readers may be drawn in by the colorful costumes the various fish wear as they trick-or-treat along the ocean floor. Keen-eyed readers with some pumpkin-carving experience may wonder how a jack-o’-lantern can be lit under water. This board book is a fairly standard look at Halloween, putting a popular character in common holiday trappings and adding nothing else. Fans of the holiday will have to look elsewhere for a more exciting take on Halloween’s thrills.

Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30191-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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