Overall, the book’s rhythmic prose, textured visuals, and diverse characters make it an excellent choice for emerging readers

WHERE IS BABY'S HOME?

At the end of the day, it’s time for the world’s babies to find their ways home.

As the pages turn in Katz’s (Vroom, Vroom, Trucks! 2016, etc.) latest lift-the-flap board book, the sky fades into darkness as smiling human babies discover where baby animals sleep at night. Each animal’s home and family is hidden behind a flap that folds convincingly into the colorful scenery. Many of the animals in the book—including birds, bunnies, squirrels, and ducks—can be found in readers’ backyards. Throughout the story, the sun progressively sets, leading to a final, double-gatefold spread of a diverse group of human babies snuggling with their caregivers in houses tucked beneath a starry, moonlit sky. Katz’s combination of clear, simple language and bold, patterned illustrations render this book enjoyable for young readers to both see and hear. Particularly laudable is Katz’s inclusion of racially diverse characters, including black and Asian babies and their parents, though there’s no obvious evidence of adoptive or multiracial families. The narrative cleverly intertwines developmentally appropriate subjects that young children particularly enjoy, including animals, babies, and bedtime rituals. Unfortunately, some of the flaps are difficult for small hands to manipulate.

Overall, the book’s rhythmic prose, textured visuals, and diverse characters make it an excellent choice for emerging readers . (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0088-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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