Parents who have OD’d on the previous outing may welcome this as an alternative, but goodness knows, similar treacly...

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WARTS AND ALL

A BOOK OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

A second slam of cuteness from the creators of Next to You: A Book of Adorableness (2016).

“So here’s the thing. I love you.” Houran matches the wry tone that saved the previous outing from dissolving into total goo, and Hanson again supplies a “squee”-inducing gallery of fuzzy, soft-focus baby animals with big, wide eyes. Unfortunately, this labored effort at a follow-up is really just more of the same—with the addition of a baby skunk surrounded by a light green cloud (“Oh. Hoo, boy”) to challenge (unsuccessfully, even for a moment) the “unconditional” part of the premise. The title, which echoes the climactic line’s “I love you warts and all,” will require explication despite the smiling toad on the facing page and may even be worrisome to more self-conscious young listeners. The illustrations may confuse young listeners as well. While the prickly porcupine cub nestled snugly amid a snoozing heap of little darlings may be taken for visual license, a fish-food snack offered to a goldfish in one scene doesn’t look much like a token of motherly love, nor does an earlier trio of baby kangaroos seem all that “wound up.”

Parents who have OD’d on the previous outing may welcome this as an alternative, but goodness knows, similar treacly reassurances that are also free of potentially confusing bits abound. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8658-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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