High appeal to fans of Cousins but not revolutionary in the field of books about parent-child love.


From the Little Fish series

Mommy Fish and Little Fish swim, play, and explore.

Cousins’ rhyming board book is all about mother-child love. Little Fish describes a day with Mommy Fish spent playing peekaboo, exploring a cave while conquering fears, and sharing kisses. Cousins’ trademark style is on full display with the bright, gouache illustrations and hand-lettered text. The illustrations are simple yet bold and inviting. They work especially well on a spread full of brightly swimming fish, alive with color that appears to create texture. Both Little Fish and Mommy Fish wear the same expressions throughout the story, excepting their kiss at the end, conveying a vague sense of happy awe. While it aligns with the simplicity of the illustrations, it doesn’t quite fit with all of Little Fish’s experiences. Little Fish’s gender is not named, enhancing its accessibility to readers. As narrated, many of Little Fish’s observations read as appropriately childlike, such as “My mommy’s orange, just like me. We both have yellow spots” (a statement that may make this book difficult to share in mixed-race and/or adoptive families). The verse works well, save the last page which bends a grammar rule to push along the rhyme. Overall, the pacing and the rhythm are the right amount of bounce for a little one on a lap.

High appeal to fans of Cousins but not revolutionary in the field of books about parent-child love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0612-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements.


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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From the Llama Llama series

In this board book designed for the littlest llama lovers, adorable-as-ever Llama Llama (Llama Llama Red Pajama, 2005, etc.) gets ready for some Halloween fun.

Dewdney’s characteristic spare, apt rhymes convey a lot of action in effortlessly readable fashion. A charming and simple introduction to Halloween and its associated activities, this title finds little Llama Llama choosing and carving a pumpkin, pouring candy into bowls, picking out a costume and, finally, trick-or-treating. The costume Llama Llama decides to don—pointy teeth and a black mask and cape—is enough to frighten and fool his friends but not readers, who will immediately recognize and smile at the silly little mini-Dracula. With Dewdney’s characters as expressive as ever, young readers will be drawn right into the holiday fun, eagerly anticipating which costume Llama Llama will choose and excited to see him scare his friends and score some candy at trick-or-treat. In the equally appealing companion title, Llama Llama Jingle Bells,the little fellow gets ready for Christmas, baking and decorating some cookies in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. This simple holiday title will win Llama Llama new fans, and old friends will want to add it and its companion to their collections. (Board book. 1-2)


Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0451469786

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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