Solid board-book fan service.

Miss Clavel and the iconic “twelve little girls in two straight lines”—including the indomitable Madeline—joyfully experience the seasons.

Illustrating the book in the style of Bemelmans’ artwork, Salerno devotes a spread to each season. The girls slip and slide across the ice in winter, then stop and smell the flowers in spring. Madeline takes a dip under the summer sun; later, falling leaves and trees with fiery-red foliage make for a lovely autumnal walk. The book wraps up in a flurry of bedtime preparations as the girls brush their teeth and wipe their faces and bid Miss Clavel goodnight. The illustrations have a crisp, modern, computer-assisted feel. There is plenty to observe and some appealing details—one child’s hat flies off while sledding down a hill. Though there’s nothing groundbreaking here, Madeline is a beloved series, and this is sure to please enthusiasts. Given that Bemelmans’ original books are on the lengthy side, this quick, rhyming board book easily serves as an introduction to the series for toddler readers. The text keeps the pace moving, holding reader interest. Fans of the original stories will smile at cameos from Madeline’s pal Pepito and her dog, Genevieve. While the main characters are light-skinned, people of color are seen in the background. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Solid board-book fan service. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-34992-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022


An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014


From the Look & Learn series

Clear nonfiction for the very young is hard to come by, and it appears that the Look & Learn series may finally be on...

An exploration of the human body through colorful photos.

Every other double-page spread labels the individual parts on one major area: head, torso, back, arm and leg. Ethnically diverse boy-girl pairs serve as models as arrows point to specific features and captions float nearby. While the book usefully mentions rarely depicted body parts, such as eyebrow, armpit and shin, some of the directional arrows are unclear. The arrow pointing at a girl’s shoulder hits her in the upper arm, and the belly button is hard is distinguish from the stomach (both are concealed by shirts). Facts about the human body (“Guess what? You have tiny hairs in your nose that keep out dirt”) appear on alternating spreads along with photos of kids in action. Baby Animals, another title in the Look & Learn series, uses an identical format to introduce readers to seal pups, leopard cubs, elephant calves, ducklings and tadpoles. In both titles, the final spread offers a review of the information and encourages readers to match baby animals to their parents or find body parts on a photo of kids jumping on a trampoline.

Clear nonfiction for the very young is hard to come by, and it appears that the Look & Learn series may finally be on the right track despite earlier titles that were much too conceptual for the audience. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4263-1483-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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