Hits just the right note for fans of the series and newcomers alike.

DOGGIE GETS SCARED

From the Leslie Patricelli Board Books series

A stuffed dog (and his baby) are afraid until they realize they have each other.

Patricelli’s instantly recognizable baby—White, still perpetually diaper clad, still with but one hair—from Bigger! Bigger! (2018) and many more is back with an adorable purple stuffed animal named Doggie. From swimming pools to strangers, Doggie gets pretty scared. The baby provides the pup lots of reassurance (including time with baby’s blankie) so that in the end, neither one is too afraid anymore. Adult readers will get a kick out of the fact that Doggie’s fears are actually the baby’s fears. What’s more, readers see the baby trying many of the same calm-down tactics on the stuffed canine that caregivers use on children. Both this device and the first-person narration are clever tools that will play well with little readers who likely share many of the same fears. The black-outlined images stand out against bold, saturated backgrounds, drawn with just enough detail to be interesting but not too busy. The simplicity of the illustrations doesn’t prevent Patricelli from conveying emotion, from the baby’s panic at possibly losing Doggie to the caregiver’s palpable relief at having found it. All of the characters present White save a few background figures. Patricelli’s rhyming Mad, Mad, MAD features the baby expressing anger and ultimately using techniques to work through it.

Hits just the right note for fans of the series and newcomers alike. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0379-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers.

I LOVE YOU MORE, BABYSAUR

From the Punderland series

A board-book ode to parental love as old as the dinosaurs.

A line of text on the left of each spread reads like a dinosaur-themed valentine that a third grader might choose, with punishingly punny wordplay that incorporates dinosaur-related words. On the facing page a dinosaur pair—a baby and an adult—gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes against whimsical, pastel-hued prehistoric-ish backgrounds. In smaller print, in all caps, at the bottom of the left page is the scientific name for the dinosaur referenced by the text and picture followed by a helpful phonetic pronunciation guide. White-outlined footprints appear next to their names, though the white is sometimes difficult to see against the pastel pages. Ten of the best-known dinosaurs are included. Twisting the dinosaur names to fit the loving sentiments succeeds some of the time but more often results in tortured text, well beyond the understanding of the board book audience. The line accompanying two hugging velociraptors, for instance, is just confusing: “Wrap-TOR arms around me, / with you I’ll always stay.” Others are just plain clumsy: “I-wanna-GUANODON you kisses, / I truly just adore you.” Very young children, even those fascinated by dinosaurs, will not get it. Older dinosaur fans will be put off by the babyish format.

Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2295-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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