An ideal choice for sharing with preschoolers and anyone else who has a soft spot for lovable but goofy dads.

READ REVIEW

WHEN DADS DON'T GROW UP

Here is an unabashed celebration of dads who enthusiastically embrace their inner children. The results are endearing, sometimes embarrassing but most often hilarious.

Parker invites readers to witness the following silly behavior: “When dads don’t grow up / they understand that shopping carts are for racing… / that clothes don’t have to match… / and that pancakes weren't meant to be round.” Alley uses pen and ink, watercolors and colored pencil to show an abundance of humorous details in a series of vignettes that greatly extend the text. A stern grocery-store manager glares at dad and daughter sitting in the wreckage of their shopping-cart race; a professorial dad lectures in a mad combination of stripes, argyle and plaid. Preschoolers will see themselves and, one hopes, their fathers in the madcap situations that populate this title. Whether finding fun in popping bubble wrap, throwing stones in water, playing sports indoors or “getting their hair wet (if they still have any),” the four ethnically and occupationally diverse dads—a florist, a doctor, a businessman and a construction worker—obviously relish these experiences as much as their children do.

An ideal choice for sharing with preschoolers and anyone else who has a soft spot for lovable but goofy dads. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3717-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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The message is wholehearted and positive, but the cloying execution doesn’t stand out.

THE JOY IN YOU

A parent koala encourages its child to engage in every pursuit, and so do several other animals.

The British celebrity author, host of both children’s and adult TV programs, has a very positive message to spread, but there is nothing original in the lightweight text. The many animal characters pictured in diverting, fuzzy-edged illustrations engage in various activities as the text encourages them. “You can sing! If you love to sing, sing. / Shout at the top of your lungs, or whisper soft and sweet.” On verso, a frog quartet harmonizes, while across the gutter, a lion is shown with open mouth roaring as a small bird presumably whispers. Using rhyme and alliteration but without real poetic consistency, lines such as these appear: “You can share. You can care. You can create. You can learn. / You can wonder. You can wander.” The pink flamingo creating a fantastic dessert with pineapple rings is an appealing image, and children will enjoy seeing the cuddly baby koala throughout the book as other animals step up for their showcase. The fantasy-forest setting and its animals will keep small children engaged, but the sweetness comes with a significant aftertaste of treacle. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 34.5% of actual size.)

The message is wholehearted and positive, but the cloying execution doesn’t stand out. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-18141-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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