Cat lovers will adore this beguiling board book.

123 CATS

A CAT COUNTING BOOK

Meow! Meet and count a dozen charismatic kitties.

A captivating selection of frolicking felines participate in familiar, kitty-centric activities, such as napping, snuggling, and snacking. Each double-page spread adds another kitty until No. 12, a tiny cream-colored kitten, closes the party—because he “knows that cats come better by the dozen!” Though the rhyming text is easy enough to read aloud, some stanzas feel safe and a bit stale: “Cat Number Six feels like she’s in heaven / when she’s snuggled up with Cat Number Seven.” However, beautiful illustrations, rendered via sumi ink on watercolors, elevate the verses. Each cat—from a fluffy ginger tabby to a slinky Sphynx—is imbued with a unique look and personality. Cats tugging on toys, using stairs as a playground, or grooming each other brim with charm, and going from Cat No. 1 to a cramped cavalcade of 12 of them easily demonstrates number progression. Although Newman took few risks in the text of this book, she goes the opposite direction in ABC Cats, giving readers delightful, vocabulary-rich lines that beg to be read with panache: “Elegant cat with dignified pose / Finicky cat turns up her nose.” An oversized letter is paired with a demonstrative cat (S, for instance, introduces a wary, eyes-wide “scaredy-cat”), and all 26 entries in the cattery are purr-fectly entrancing.

Cat lovers will adore this beguiling board book. (Board book. 1-6)

Pub Date: April 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0995-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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