Just the ticket for the tot who’s applying early-early-early-early-early decision to Harvard; better hope the RAs will...

VICTOR HUGO'S LES MISÉRABLES

From the Cozy Classics series

The melodramatic French novel of sin and redemption set against various backdrops of unrest is boiled down to 12 words.

Yep: 12. Words. This board book for the nascent genius begins with “poor,” includes such stirring language as “happy” and “climb” and ends with “together.” Perfectly adorable felt dolls posed against (mostly) three-dimensional backgrounds depict the characters displaying the emotions/characteristics or engaging in the actions described. “Rich” positions a prosperous-looking Jean Valjean in a blue frock coat in front of, presumably, his factory; turn the page to see a “sad” Cosette dressed in rags and wielding a broom, looking out a window. With or without significant interpolation (like, several hundred pages’ worth) from an adult, there is absolutely no way any baby chewing and drooling on this book will make the connection between those two figures and the now-adult Cosette and graying Jean Valjean out for a merry “stroll.” But forget the gaps in narrative; how many babies have yet wrapped their heads around the concepts of “rich” and “poor”? Publishing simultaneously, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace delivers a similarly sweetly illustrated, ludicrous truncation.

Just the ticket for the tot who’s applying early-early-early-early-early decision to Harvard; better hope the RAs will change diapers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-927018-21-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Simply Read

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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