Long live King and Queen Baby! (Picture book. 3-8)

KING BABY

King Baby rules.

In the first few double-page spreads, the swaddled, white, potato-shaped infant presides over an adoring, diverse crowd of admirers as his proud parents look on. “But your king also has many demands!” reads a later page, and his mother and father patiently meet those demands in illustrations that show them becoming increasingly exhausted. It’s a well-worn theme, reminiscent of Marla Frazee’s Boss Baby (2010), but Beaton keeps her book feeling fresh through humorous illustrations that expand on the wry text and never shy away from exposing the extent of King Baby’s tyranny. As King Baby gets older, he learns to crawl (the sequence showing this achievement is a triumph) and then becomes “a big boy” astride a toddler’s balance bike at the playground. No longer King Baby, the big boy wonders, “But what of these poor subjects? / Who are they, without a king? // And who will lead them if not I?”—and a wholly satisfying conclusion arrives with Queen Baby.

Long live King and Queen Baby! (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-63754-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Cute but not substantive, and the wording may be off-putting.

YOU MAKE ME HAPPY

Fox and Porcupine celebrate the many ways they enjoy each other.

“You make me happy, / like birds taking flight, / like a waterfall twinkling, / like morning’s first light. // The things that you do, and the things that you say, / fill me with sunshine and brighten my day.” Throughout the seasons, readers are treated to a look at all the lovely times the duo have. Even when the text hints that one is feeling down and the other is cheering them on, the acrylic-paint–and–colored-pencil artwork shows both feeling glad, demanding that readers guess which might have been sad. That’s not the only thing readers will have to guess either. It’s unclear whether this relationship is friendly, romantic, or familial; at times the text and illustrations make it seem as though it could be any of these. And the first-person narrator is also never identified. The idea is certainly sweet, the roly-poly pair are delightfully expressive and adorable, and the sentiments expressed are those caregivers appreciate and celebrate in their children. Still, the wording may cause adults to cringe, especially those trained in psychology and like subjects that emphasize that confidence and well-being do not rest on externalities: “You make me happy and hopeful and strong.”

Cute but not substantive, and the wording may be off-putting. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68119-849-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A cozy year-round delight.

I LOVE YOU ALL YEAR THROUGH

Animal caregivers express their love for their little ones throughout the seasons in this addition to the “I love you” shelf.

Markers of the seasons loom large in this salute to parent-child bonds—spring blossoms and rains, autumn leaves, the summer sun and haze. “I love you in the winter / when the frost is on the trees. // When ice lights up the night / and snowflakes drift upon the breeze.” Stansbie’s gentle rhymes continue in this pattern through spring, summer, and autumn before summing the year up: “In wind and rain and sun, / from dawn to dusk and all year through… // You are my darling precious one. / Forever I’ll love you!” A different duo is shown on each spread, and the animals are familiar favorites: bear, fox, deer, rabbit, bird, otter, horse, lion, wolf, red squirrel, whale, and polar bear. Simple though gorgeously dappled backgrounds capture the basics of the animals’ various habitats. Mason’s use of light is masterful; many of the illustrations capture the animals at golden hour, and this contributes to the cozy mood evoked by the text. Though the animals’ expressions tend toward anthropomorphism, most of their actions are natural.

A cozy year-round delight. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984851-49-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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