Lap-sit readers will eagerly snuggle up for their own cuddles.

KITTY'S CUDDLES

From the Jane Cabrera's Story Time series

A boisterous kitty playfully debates the merits of hugging various critters before deciding hugging baby brother is the best cuddle of all.

Exuberantly rendered in Cabrera’s signature bold, painterly style, the vibrantly colored full-bleed animals look almost touchable while bright, patterned backgrounds saturated with color make the hugging duos pop off the page. As the big-eyed tan-and-white kitten tries to determine a “favorite friend to cuddle,” the fuzzy tot meets and is enveloped by animals as varied as a luxuriously patterned peacock, an oversized teddy bear, and even a coral-colored octopus with safely rounded, drifting tentacles. Using lighthearted language sure to appeal to little ones, the kitten reflects on what makes each hug special: A small mouse has a “teeny-weeny cuddle” and an elephant, “a big strong” one while even potentially off-putting creatures like a “spiky” porcupine or “scaly” armadillo have reassuring (if leprous, for the latter) cuddles. It’s gratifying to see the little kitty’s progress from seeking cuddles to being large and in charge when readers meet the new baby brother on the last page. Resized from Cabrera’s 2007 picture book of the same name, this is one of those rare board-book adaptations that works well thanks to her brief, toddler-friendly text and emphatic illustration style.

Lap-sit readers will eagerly snuggle up for their own cuddles. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4471-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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