A simple, colorful book that will likely make excellent bedtime reading.

A sweet, lushly illustrated book about a mother bird’s unconditional love for her baby.

Monroe’s debut picture book, in the vein of Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You (1994), tells the story of a baby bird who asks his mother a series of hypotheticals about how much she loves him. “[W]hat if I roll in the dirt and get mud all over my face and feathers?” he asks, among other similar questions. The mother, of course, reassures the chick repeatedly. When a crisis occurs later in the story and the flock nearly leaves the baby behind, his mother comes through and protects him, proving that she will always love him no matter what. (The conflict is quite minimal, and doesn’t last long enough to frighten smaller children.) Children will likely enjoy reading this book along with a caregiver, and the question-and-answer format makes for a good interactive bedtime story. The illustrations are lovely, with the birds portrayed realistically rather than cartoonishly; the backgrounds have a charming, sketchy quality that calls to mind magazine illustrations of the 1950s and ’60s, and they include small details that may delight younger children. Illustrator Whittaker-Paek conveys motion with vibrant lines uses colors that make the birds appear fluffy and warm. Some of the language is a bit formal for a children’s book; when the mother bird answers her baby’s questions, he is “pleased with his mother’s reply” and “liked his mother’s response,” rather than simply being happy with her answer. However, the prose will introduce small children to longer words and synonyms and won’t detract from a pleasurable reading experience.

A simple, colorful book that will likely make excellent bedtime reading.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615672571

Page Count: 28

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2013


From the Who's in Your Book? series

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017


From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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