MUST. PUSH. BUTTONS!

A rambunctious child tries to find outlets for his surfeit of energy.

As the title implies, this little boy is into everything: Daddy’s phone, Mommy’s shoes, the kitchen appliances—you name it, he’ll fuss with it. Written in first person, Good’s text ends up coming across more like an adult’s impression of a busy child than it does the voice of a little one, and it lacks the structure necessary to deliver a complete story. Instead, the book delivers a familiar character study of the into-everything toddler. Krosoczka’s digitally assembled, multimedia art attempts to capture the protagonist’s high energy with multiple scenes showing him in midaction as he explores the world around him at a frantic pace, but the illustrations end up being largely redundant to rather than expansive of the text. Furthermore, the sequence of events has no apparent order—spreads could be rearranged without any impact on the book as a whole, expect for the ultimate, predictable closing scene that shows the child tuckered out after his busy day and fast asleep in a chair. Ultimately, Good and Krosoczka's collaboration seems to serve more as a validation for adult perceptions of toddler behavior than it acts as a story for actual toddlers to enjoy.

Not a must. read. book. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61963-095-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Vibrant photographs—especially action shots—will capture children’s attention, build language skills and, one hopes, start...

FAMILIES

“We hope this book…will lead children and their parents to engage in conversation about their families.”

So begins this good-sized book, which is packed with photographs of families of many different sizes, shapes, ages and colors (although most wear casual clothing familiar to most American children). Bold, colorful type announces: “There are all kinds of families.” Engaging photographs throughout complement a simple text that informs readers about differences—such as big vs. small; genders and generations of parents; adoption vs. birth children. Positive similarities follow, as families get together for celebrations and family members help one another out and enjoy activities together. Only childless families are excluded, but that can be forgiven by the book’s noble, stated goal. Kelly adds an endnote to further encourage parents: “Recently, research psychologists have found that children who developed a strong family narrative from speaking with their parents about family history and hearing family stories, both good and bad, exhibited greater self-esteem….” As the photographs’ emotional spectrum covers the tiny range from cheerful to exuberant, it’s an open question whether this will encourage or inhibit truthful family-history revelations. However, the emphatic ending will certainly start a dialogue: “There are many different kinds of families. What about yours?”

Vibrant photographs—especially action shots—will capture children’s attention, build language skills and, one hopes, start conversations. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3053-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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