WHO IS MAKING A MESS?

From spilled motor oil to sprayed water, everyone makes a mess.

The repeated phrase “Who is making a mess?” finds everyone from Grandpa to the baby involved in the untidiness. The marriage of D’Haene’s text with Ryan’s illustrations invites readers to guess who’s made each mess based on the images. The purposefully vague initial depiction of the culprit often challenges readers’ assumptions of who has left each smear or heap of debris. For example, the opening illustration shows a denim-clad someone changing the oil in a car, legs poking out from underneath. A turn of the page reveals that it is Mama making that mess while her partner or spouse (gender is unclear) wrangles the little ones. Other scenes—Grandpa baking while wearing an apron and with a baby in a back carrier—play out similarly. The diverse cast includes same-sex parents, interracial families, and many children and adults of color. The repetition of D’Haene’s question-and-answer structure makes it nicely predictable for little readers, with familiarity quicker to build upon repeat readings. Ryan’s illustrations feel alive thanks to the motion of the mess itself, with flying blobs of batter, juicy drips of food, and sprinkles of grease and oil. Charming details provide plenty for readers to pore over each page, and the deep orange, red, and golden yellow tones give the book warmth.

Good clean fun. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68152-503-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Amicus Ink

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Sweet—but more for adults than children.

ALL THE LOVE IN THE WORLD

A doting pair of adult bears follows a baby bear through a busy day.

These fully engaged caregivers are clearly awed by the little cub, starting with “You’re the morning sunshine” and ending with “you sleep so peacefully / beneath the twinkling stars.” In between, the baby bear paints a picture, sings with one adult, tickles with the other, drinks cocoa, takes a walk and flies a kite, rides a bike, and is playfully swung in the air before a bath. Much of the action is communicated only by the pictures. The tender rhyming verses focus on the wonder of familial love. Every other stanza ends with the refrain: “This world of ours is full of love / when you are here with me.” Curiously, although this cub has two present, caregiving adults, the narrative, presumably addressed to the child, uses the first-person singular. The baby bear is presented as gender-neutral, first in orange-and-green polka-dot pajamas and then in blue jeans with a white shirt graced with yellow ducks. Although neither adult bear is gendered in the text, the illustrations use stereotypical cues: One wears a yellow dress decorated with hearts; the other wears a striped shirt (and no trousers). No one can miss that the baby bear is the adults’ little darling.

Sweet—but more for adults than children. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-603-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Cuddle up with this cheery board book to assure your babies that they too are loved.

I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER

Parental love has never been expressed so sweetly and believably.

In this sunny, bright world there is no ambivalence, much less postpartum depression—only positive possibilities. Church offers a model of good parenting, expressing the universal hopes all parents have for their children, that they “see the joy that life can bring.” Her focus is always on the child. The narrator mother is shown only at the very beginning, cuddling her newborn and lifting a sock-clad toddler above her head. On two other pages readers see the mother's hands reaching out to guide and encourage as the baby begins to crawl, stand, and run. The first-person narration might be confusing if the book is shared by a caregiver other than a mother. Toddlers will join in on the reassuring refrain “I will love you forever.” The pants-clad child is shown with tightly curled reddish-brown hair and light brown skin. The mother has a slightly lighter skin tone and straight hair. A faithful brown dog and well-loved teddy bear accompany the child on almost every page.

Cuddle up with this cheery board book to assure your babies that they too are loved. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-94200-3

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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