Warm and bright.

READ REVIEW

SHINE, BABY, SHINE

A picture-book celebration of babies and their individuality.

While the text doesn’t directly quote the spiritual “This Little Light of Mine,” many readers will doubtlessly think of the song when they read Staub’s text in verse. Nor does the text define characters, instead leaving illustrator Nichols to depict not just a singular baby named in the title, but several babies and their diverse families. Smooth cartoon illustrations with stardustlike detailing depict: a white-appearing toddler with a single mother and older sibling who both also appear white; baby twins who, like their parents (one of whom uses a wheelchair), appear white; a baby who appears Asian with what seem to be two dads (one also appears Asian, and the other seems white); and a black-appearing family with a mom, dad, baby, and older child. These characters recur throughout the book, the ever present sparkles emphasizing the title’s “shine.” This family diversity contributes to the picture book’s success, making it stand apart from a surfeit of titles about beloved babies. However, readers may note that the inclusivity is a bit undermined by the text’s positioning of seeing and hearing as universal abilities with lines such as “Look, baby, look! You were born to see” and “Listen, baby, listen! Hear that joyful sound?” Given the thoughtful inclusion of a person with a visible disability, this stands out.

Warm and bright. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59078-931-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A lovely package, this quiet title will be best as a gift book for new moms eager to read aloud to the newest members of...

BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU

A mother’s observations of her new baby lead to a series of sweet comparisons to various animals.

“When I met you, you were small and trembling, and I thought you might be a little bunny. / I held you close so you were warm.” Teen author Marr (Made for You, 2014, etc.) uses playful yet comforting language in her picture-book debut. The baby’s squirming kicks remind her of a “lost kangaroo”; a lifting of the child’s head makes her think of a “curious lizard”; and the little one’s howl seems like that of a “lonely wolf.” Each of the child’s behaviors leads to a tender action taken by the mother: tucking the baby in, offering milk, and giving a bath. Each time a new creature is introduced, White gently changes the dominant color in the muted pastel palette of her watercolor and gouache illustrations. That hue is also reflected in the hand-lettered text, giving the overall design of the book a vintage feel. When the baby smiles, the mother knows “You are not a bunny-roo-lizard-wolf-kitten-piggy. You are my baby.” The final page shows the curled-up infant asleep in a pile of blankets.

A lovely package, this quiet title will be best as a gift book for new moms eager to read aloud to the newest members of their families. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16742-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Superlative silliness.

MY DAD IS AMAZING

Extol the virtues of parents in this and its companion volume, My Mom is Magical.

Each of these winning board books is dedicated to the respective, titular parent of the author-and-illustrator team, sisters Sabrina and Eunice Moyle, who together are the design studio Hello!Lucky. The over-the-top enthusiasm of these volumes may, therefore, be reasonably excused, as the creative team’s love for their subjects seems as sincere as it is hyperbolic. A series of wild metaphors and analogies celebrate Dad or Mom; the near-blinding bright colors and kinetic, even chaotic illustrations perfectly complement the exuberant text. “My Dad is cooler than a million Popsicles!” “My Mom is cuddlier than a mountain yak!” A friendly, hipsterized yeti that looks like an extra from Where the Wild Things Are plays Dad, while Mom is rendered as a sparkly unicorn with rainbow mane and tail—who strikes heroic poses. Descriptive phrasing ranges from sweet to laugh-out-loud silly: Dad, for example, is “funnier than a bunch of underpants!” Funny indeed! Each volume ends by switching voices to break the fourth wall: “Kid, you’re amazing” (or “magical”) “too!” Both books are visual treats, sure to engage with their brilliant hues and inventive (if occasionally stereotypical) images. Dad is imagined at one point as a masked, lucha libre wrestler, for example, and Mom teaches a classroom of owlets mathematical formulae in glasses and an “I [heart] Math” T-shirt. Families may want both books, or either, as applicable.

Superlative silliness. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2961-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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