The soft cadence makes this sweetly illustrated poem a good choice for bedtime reading.

LOVE LOTTERY

A debut picture book celebrates parental love.

A parent narrator begins this tale, addressed to a child, with an unspecified wish that savvy readers will understand is a longing for a baby. When the infant arrives, the narrator says, “Some things in life are meant to be. / Your little heart called out to me.” The joy the narrator feels is expressed as winning the love lottery of the title, which Darling cleverly illustrates as tickets with hearts on them, tucked into the pockets of the parents or held by the child as the youngster grows from a baby to a toddler to a somewhat older kid. Applauding happiness and expressing that unexpected obstacles should be met with “resilience and love,” the poem dominantly focuses on the huge feelings of love the parent has for the child, “however you came to be.” Huggins’ intentional inclusivity of children who may have been adopted or fostered is a lovely feature; the poetic stanzas mostly scan well, with a few clunky phrases (“this I know”). Darling’s cartoon images, which feature a pale-skinned family, are beautifully designed, reminiscent of Mary Engelbreit’s style. Although the vocabulary is accessible, the lettering, which frequently uses cursive, is likely to stump younger independent readers who have only learned to read print.

The soft cadence makes this sweetly illustrated poem a good choice for bedtime reading.

Pub Date: June 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73420-291-5

Page Count: 39

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2020

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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