Joy abounds.

READ REVIEW

I BELIEVE IN ME

From the Wonderful Me series

Even at a very young age, there are so many things that kids can do!

This rhyming text is a joyous celebration of all the things that very young children can do as they grow from babies into toddlers. The examples span a range of developmental stages, beginning with simple actions such as standing and eating independently to spinning and jumping. The text bounces gleefully with internal rhymes, creating a celebratory tone sure to make children giggle. Laudably, the accompanying illustrations feature characters with a variety of skin tones, hair types, and ages. Additionally, the book is not limited to positive emotions: While most of the drawings burst with joy, there is also a page celebrating a child’s ability to cry. Unfortunately, while the pages include racially diverse children, they are not so diverse in terms of ability: There is one child with glasses, one who appears to have a hearing aid, and one with leg braces, but there is no child who uses a wheelchair or is otherwise obviously disabled. Particularly in a book that celebrates ability, this feels like a glaring omission. Overall, though, the book is child-centric, featuring only two adults in all of the pages, reinforcing its premise that children (and their amazing bodies) are the stars of their own worlds.

Joy abounds. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-28624-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements.

TRICK OR TREAT, POUT-POUT FISH

From the Pout-Pout Fish Mini Adventure series

The Pout-Pout Fish brand expands.

Halloween is here, and Mr. Pout-Pout Fish is giving out treats from his submarine home. Those familiar with the blue striped fish will find the usual uncluttered illustrations and rhyming scheme (“Who’s at the helm / of the spooky submarine? // It’s you, Mr. Fish! / Have a happy Halloween!”). New readers may be drawn in by the colorful costumes the various fish wear as they trick-or-treat along the ocean floor. Keen-eyed readers with some pumpkin-carving experience may wonder how a jack-o’-lantern can be lit under water. This board book is a fairly standard look at Halloween, putting a popular character in common holiday trappings and adding nothing else. Fans of the holiday will have to look elsewhere for a more exciting take on Halloween’s thrills.

Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30191-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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If the point is to help children understand and accept their feelings, this effort is a failure. If the point is to sell...

KISS, KISS, POUT-POUT FISH

From the Pout-Pout Fish series

The Pout-Pout Fish brand expands.

None of the fish in this sea look like anything living outside the cartoon-cute world of Pout-Pout Fish, but that's just the beginning of the problems with this board-book addition to the franchise. The Pout-Pout Fish on the cover and every page of this offering doesn't look pouty at all. Slightly bemused, a bit surprised, maybe—but definitely not pouty. In fact, all of the cartoony creatures swimming in this fantasy sea share the same bug-eyed, slightly kissy-face expression. The rhyming message is that there are many ways to share it—a wave, a smile, holding hands (or fins), making silly faces, a hug, or a kiss—but there’s only one thing to call it: love. What is disturbing is that Mr. Fish seems to have only one choice—to accept love however it is offered. Giving children (or little fish) permission to trust their own feelings might be a more appropriate message.

If the point is to help children understand and accept their feelings, this effort is a failure. If the point is to sell Pout-Pout product, it might succeed. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30190-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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