A sweet reminder that love is best measured in actions.

TINY T. REX AND THE PERFECT VALENTINE

Even when well-intended plans go awry, sometimes “I love you” is plastered all over one’s face.

Tiny T. Rex wants to make the perfect valentine for friend Pointy, a stegosaurus. It’s a noble ideal, but perfection is more elusive than the little theropod realized. That’s the premise of this charming board book that succinctly celebrates love, friendship, aspiration, perseverance, limitations, and the notion that it’s the thought that counts—especially when it’s clearly reflected in effort. Like its protagonist, this book is small, but it’s rich in value and works on every level. The artwork has an elegant simplicity that beautifully balances color, personality, and clever detail. A panel of Tiny designing the card in chalk on a blackboard, for example, reveals the scale of the little dino’s intentions: a giant heart, ribbons, smaller hearts dangling from springs, heart-shaped balloons, and fireworks, all much larger than Tiny. The project is clearly a labor of love: Tiny sweats, tugging a bucket of paint—“Pointy’s favorite color!”—but the bucket spills on the artist, not the valentine. Trying to make the card “extra fancy,” Tiny is covered in glitter. Tiny rips, snips, and rerips, trying to make the perfect heart; misspells Pointy; and glues springs and hearts all over everything. When Tiny apologizes for having no valentine for Pointy, Pointy recognizes immediately that the perfect valentine is a friend like Tiny.

A sweet reminder that love is best measured in actions. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8489-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Cute, harmless, and unlikely to achieve classic status.

I BELIEVE IN BUNNYCORNS

Copious amounts of glitter and rainbows and a die-cut rainbow flower add a bit of interest to this celebration of the titular one-horned bunnies.

With simple, rhyming text and high-contrast, neon illustrations, this book is like cotton candy for the eyes and ears. Like that sugary confection, it’s sweet—arguably, too much so. “We’re going on a bunny hunt / to find the bunnycorns. / We follow trails of sparkle dust / and look for shiny horns! // We’ll find them in the places / where candy carrots grow. / I CAN SEE A BUNNYCORN! / Let’s go and say hello!” As the claims about the bunnycorns grow more extravagant, the artwork explodes in garish bursts of color. As for the aforementioned die-cut flower, it starts as a large cutout on the front cover of the book, becoming progressively smaller through each successive page, till it ends as a glittery, yellow single flower on the second-to-last double-page spread. In the denouement that follows, the narrative voice breaks the literary fourth wall: “If you believe in bunnycorns, / then they’ll believe in you. / ’Cause bunnycorns are special, / and baby, YOU are too!” The use of bunnies, of course, constitutes a radical departure from author McLean and illustrator Le Tandé’s 2019 opus, I Love My Llamacorn.

Cute, harmless, and unlikely to achieve classic status. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12643-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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