Fans of Libby and Pearl will enjoy these best friends in book form, however fleeting their notoriety may be.

LIBBY AND PEARL

THE BEST OF FRIENDS

A sweet and cheery celebration of the Pink Frilly Dress phenomenon starring a delightfully photogenic toddler and a pink piglet.

Photographer Bonnice, an adoption advocate, chronicled life with her sunny black baby Libby on Instagram in 2015. The family added a pet pig named Pearl to the household, who became inseparable from Libby. Their images went viral and received national media attention, including the deal that resulted in this book. Libby’s beautiful brown skin is a stunning contrast to Pearl’s light pink coloring. Even as gender issues are making headlines, this photography picture book embraces all things girly, with ribbons and lace overflowing from the pages. Furry carpeting, the mesh of tutus, bath bubbles, down comforters, and even spilled cereal create a visually tactile wonderland. The images have been chosen and staged with an eye for background, color schemes, and perspective. The book simulates a design style found in many DIY photo-album products, with scalloped edges and geometric shapes in the background. With one photo on each page, there is order and consistency in Libby’s world. The text is similarly concise and geared toward adults “We’re not always on the same page, / but we’re part of each other’s story.”

Fans of Libby and Pearl will enjoy these best friends in book form, however fleeting their notoriety may be. (Picture book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-245927-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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 forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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