A sweet celebration of a baby, full of Jewish tradition.

BABY'S BLESSINGS

A Jewish family celebrates a baby with traditional symbols and rituals.

The whole family—even the cat—dotes on baby in this board book. Newman’s rhyming text includes Yiddish and Hebrew vocabulary and Jewish traditions: There’s kugel and challah, a mezuzah and a tzedakah box, and, of course, many blessings and much joy. Newman doesn’t spend time defining the various terms for non-Jewish readers, allowing Nakata’s softly textured illustrations to provide some context clues. While the text is certainly very sweet and scans well, the beautiful images are the stars. There are wonderful details: wallpaper adorned with chicks, Zayde’s tortoiseshell glasses, and, delightfully, the cat behaving typically by stuffing itself inside a paper bag. These details bring this family to life. The only point of confusion in the book is that at first, it seems as though the family (all white presenting) is readying the house for a brand-new baby—Bubbe is knitting booties and baking on the first page, for example—but this is no newborn. The baby is shown forward-facing in a baby carrier, sitting up on a lap at the table, and climbing playfully on Zayde. Overall, this book would make a wonderful gift for a Jewish family welcoming a new addition, as it certainly conveys the excitement and joy of having a little one in the house.

A sweet celebration of a baby, full of Jewish tradition. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2214-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love.

LEO LOVES DADDY

A fun-loving daddy’s dedication is apparent in this slice-of-life board book.

Leo, a brown-skinned boy with tight curls, full lips, and a broad nose, delights in playing with Daddy, who has equally clearly Black features. Leo wakes up to Daddy tickling his tummy. Then this superinvolved father fixes pancakes, dances, takes Leo on a bike ride, and tends to Leo’s scraped knee. Together they build with blocks, take a bath, and snuggle with a book before bed. Companion title Leo Loves Mommy follows a similar trajectory through the day. Leo builds a blanket fort with couch cushions, practices yoga, and paints with his mother, who also presents Black. After a bike ride, mommy’s lunch “is so flashy”: celery and carrot sticks turned into edible critters with fruit and nuts. The loving devotion of both parents is tangible and genuine, sweet but not cloying. Simple two-line sentences with unobtrusive rhymes across spreads provide descriptions of the activities and add vocabulary. Each spread illustrates one event against a clear solid color background, free of distracting decoration. Together they complete a full picture of a busy toddler’s day and his loving relationship with each parent.

Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-241-2

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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