Very sweet but not particularly fresh.

AND I HAVE YOU

A BOOK OF MOTHERS AND BABIES

A celebration of the mother-child bond.

A title-page illustration shows a light-skinned woman leaning over a sleeping baby, also light-skinned. Only a final picture ever shows other people in the distance; otherwise, the book focuses on these two and the animals around them. The baby’s blue cap serves as the first of several visual cues that it’s a boy, though the text never specifies gender. Instead, words operate symmetrically with pictures to depict first “A cat has her kittens” on the opening verso, then “a dog has her puppies” on the facing recto. Turn the page to see “a sheep has her lamb,” and then the line “and I have you” accompanies a picture of the human mother cuddling the baby. Ensuing pages list more animal mother-and-baby pairings, and each list culminates with a new depiction of the human mother and her child, who is a bit older and more independent in successive spreads. They live on a farm that includes the named animal families and is near the habitats of wild animals that eventually enter the text as well. Repeated refrains affirm that mother and child will always have each other, and there’s certainly nothing in the idyllic, brightly colored watercolor and acrylic paintings to suggest any threat or sadness that could befall them—even the animals smile. The trade edition’s cover has an opening, framed cutout into which personalized mother-and-baby photos may be inserted.

Very sweet but not particularly fresh. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-51019-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over.

NOISY TRACTOR

From the I Can Learn series

Little ones can explore a day in the life of a rubber-covered, audio-enabled tractor.

The “5 noisy parts!” promised on the cover are powered by a battery embedded in the back of the book, the compartment securely screwed shut. Youngsters are prompted by the text to press various parts of the tractor to make interesting sound effects, such as an engine starting then chugging, a horn, and tire noise on muddy or rocky terrain. A large, tractor-shaped die-cut hole in every page allows children to access the vehicle on every double-page spread but leaves the left-hand pages dominated by that tractor-shaped hole. Farm animals make their signature sounds via speech bubble (horses, chicks, and cows, to name a few) along with other critters offering suggestions about which buttons on the tractor to press. For additional play value, a ladybug and a caterpillar can be spotted on every double-page spread. Labels for most of the animals appear in a clear font along with other farm-centric vocabulary words: pitchfork, seedlings, trough. Elliott’s art is busy, but the simple, eye-catching patterns and graphically clean lines in bright colors will appeal to the audience. While this offering is perfect for toddlers, the extensive warnings in the fine print on the back of the book about what may happen if the button battery is swallowed should scare adults into being vigilant. Thankfully, there is an on/off switch allowing for toggling between a quiet and noisy reading experience.

Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-669-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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