A nice addition to the bookshelves of day care centers, preschools and families with young children.

SHOW ME HAPPY

Rhyming text in large print accompanies colorful photographs of children of different ethnic backgrounds, all engaged in the enjoyment of life.

The youngest children will enjoy looking at the photographs and identifying with such phrases as “Show me happy, / show me helping, // show me up, / show me down.” (The “up” and “down” photos capture children playing on playground equipment.) The pleasantries of a largely suburban lifestyle involve, in addition to playground fun, a plastic “lawnmower” and wagon, Lego construction, reading books, counting with fingers, and interacting lovingly with adults, pets and other children. Care was obviously taken to include a diversity of ages, genders and skin colors in the models. The text’s simple rhythms will allow little ones to “read along” with the book after the first few run-throughs. A number of the activities encourage children to immediately mimic what they see in the illustrations, as in the finger-counting, the peekaboo pages and the “Show me little, / show me BIG” photographs. A sweetness in the images and the text elevates the book from sheer simplicity to usefulness in providing behavioral role models. The use of near-rhymes is a welcome relief from texts that sacrifice meaning for exact rhyme. There is nothing wrong with coupling “down” with “found” and “ten” with “friends.”

A nice addition to the bookshelves of day care centers, preschools and families with young children. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7349-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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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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