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

READ REVIEW

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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A comforting celebration of everyday courage with lots of charm to boot.

I AM SO BRAVE!

From the Empowerment series

This upbeat ode to conquering fears will resonate with tots both timid and not.

The sparse text of this sturdy board book is a series of three quatrains, presented one brief line per spread, describing the various fears a little boy has overcome: “I was scared of big dogs. / Then I made a new friend. // I was scared of the water. / Now I love the deep end.” Having also conquered fears of the dark, loud horns and goodbyes, he proclaims on the final pages: “I’m not scared like before. / I am so brave!” The skillful verses read smoothly and depict situations that toddlers and preschoolers will relate to. The illustrations center around a wide-eyed African-American child as the main character, with Caucasian children also populating some of the scenes, including the final spread, which features the narrator leaping boldly into a pit of colored balls. The design and color scheme, mostly bright blues, yellows and reds, give the title a distinctly vintage feel, which will lend it appeal to both adults and children.

A comforting celebration of everyday courage with lots of charm to boot. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0937-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe.

MEET BABY SHARK

Little ones meet Baby Shark’s extended family and friends in this board-book version of the viral online Pinkfong video.

Sensibly, this offering does not attempt to replicate the song, since readers have likely viewed it multiple times if the 3.5 billion views (and counting) are any indication. Each line of this version is shared on a double-page spread featuring a character: Baby Shark, the rest of the Shark family (Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and Grandpa), and a couple of critters not mentioned in the song (Baby Turtle, a terrified fish named William, and Pinkfong, the brand’s fox logo). The primary text will be meaningful only to readers familiar with the song: “GRANDPA SHARK DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO.” A few words about each character and how they relate to Baby Shark accompany their appearance: “Grandpa Shark is wise and smart. He enjoys sharing his cooking skills with Baby Shark.” Rounded tabs at the top and the right margin of the book allow little fingers to easily turn the pages and readily access their favorite spreads. The two-dimensional gum ball–colored art is true to the source, and fans will not be disappointed. While Mommy and Daddy are color-coded in pink and blue, respectively and stereotypically, the rest of the creatures featured are not assigned colors based on gender.

Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-296589-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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