LION LULLABY

Night approaches, and lion cubs head for home.

With the “moon ripe and round,” 10 little lions hear “evening’s sounds” and know it’s time to “run along home.” Along the way, one watches a monkey “bouncing a babe on its knee.” Two see a cobra wave its tail and hear zebras bray and a tree frog peep. Three little lions sprint across sand dunes, four inspect a honeybee nest, five splash across a stream, and six peek at elephants tramping along and wildebeests running. On their way home, seven are caught in the rain, and eight tired little lions stop to rest, stretch, and purr. Home at last, nine little lions are ready for bed, and finally all 10 listen to “evening’s lullaby,” snuggle up, and sleep “cuddled by night.” Relying on repetition and rhyme, the text generates a gentle, soporific cadence as the little lions progress homeward, distracted by evening sights and sounds along the way. The painterly, realistic illustrations create the feel of approaching night, transitioning gradually from golds, browns, and greens to dreamy mauves, violets, and grays. Opening with a scene of 10 fuzzy, engaging cubs together, the double-page spreads track their progress from different perspectives and in ascending numerical groups across a stream, over sand dunes, atop tree branches, and beneath leaves until all 10 reunite with their mother under the “moon’s wide eye.”

Ideal bedtime read-aloud. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0982-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young...

THE BIGGEST KISS

This title previously published in the U.K. takes a cozy look at all kinds of kisses.

Walsh’s rhyming text is full of cutesy rhythms: “Kisses on noses, kisses on toes-es. Sudden kisses when you least supposes.” Sometimes the phrasing stumbles: “Who likes to kiss? I do! I do! Even the shy do. Why not try, too?” But toddlers and young preschoolers will probably not mind. They will be too engaged in spotting the lively penguin on each spread and too charmed by Abbot’s winsome illustrations that fittingly extend the wording in the story. Patient dogs queue up for a smooch from a frog prince, cool blue “ ’normous elephants” contrast strikingly with bright red “little tiny ants” and a bewildered monkey endures a smattering of lipstick kisses. Be the kiss small or tall, one to start or end the day, young readers are reminded that “the very best kiss… / is a kiss from you!” Perhaps no big surprise but comforting nonetheless.

Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young tyke or sharing with a gathering for storytime.     (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2769-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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