Let this be the first first-word book to pull from the shelf.

HENRY FINDS HIS WORD

Seeing that baby talk isn’t working as well as he’d like, Henry decides to find his first word. 

Inaugural-word picture books remain perennial favorites, and this one distinguishes itself by committing wholeheartedly to little Henry’s perspective. Clear pencil outlines, matte pastel colors, and flat forms and backgrounds cohere to offer the softly benign, limited viewpoint of a baby. Henry’s wide face and teeny eyes anchor the artwork, imparting emotion with economy, and children might enjoy articulating the feelings behind his mild expressions. Sympathetic narration further explores Henry’s (often funny) frustrations, pleasures and thought processes. “It would help if he knew what to look for. But Henry wasn’t sure what words looked like.” The words “big,” “fuzzy,” “prickly,” “long” and “short” follow, each appearing as the shapes and textures they denote. The puffy, woolly outlines of “fuzzy” look soft to the touch, and “long” stretches out along the top of a dachshund’s back. Henry pets a fuzzy bear, feels prickly grass, gazes up at the towering letters of “BIG.” Here’s exactly how a baby decodes and interprets the world around him, which can be a scary place when mama isn’t in sight! Suddenly seemingly alone, Henry’s first word bursts forth: “MAMA.” And from there, as all mothers know, it never stops.

Let this be the first first-word book to pull from the shelf. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3990-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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