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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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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Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love.

LEO LOVES DADDY

A fun-loving daddy’s dedication is apparent in this slice-of-life board book.

Leo, a brown-skinned boy with tight curls, full lips, and a broad nose, delights in playing with Daddy, who has equally clearly Black features. Leo wakes up to Daddy tickling his tummy. Then this superinvolved father fixes pancakes, dances, takes Leo on a bike ride, and tends to Leo’s scraped knee. Together they build with blocks, take a bath, and snuggle with a book before bed. Companion title Leo Loves Mommy follows a similar trajectory through the day. Leo builds a blanket fort with couch cushions, practices yoga, and paints with his mother, who also presents Black. After a bike ride, mommy’s lunch “is so flashy”: celery and carrot sticks turned into edible critters with fruit and nuts. The loving devotion of both parents is tangible and genuine, sweet but not cloying. Simple two-line sentences with unobtrusive rhymes across spreads provide descriptions of the activities and add vocabulary. Each spread illustrates one event against a clear solid color background, free of distracting decoration. Together they complete a full picture of a busy toddler’s day and his loving relationship with each parent.

Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-241-2

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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