A sweet welcome for a new baby.

WHERE IS BEAR GOING?

Not just the eponymous Bear, but many friendly animals are headed somewhere special.

Simple, cumulative text translated from Dutch prompts readers to turn the pages as one anthropomorphic animal after another joins Bear on a walk through the forest. Each animal’s arrival on the scene provides a little more information about whom they are going to see. This pattern begins with Bear saying “I’m going to see some sleepy little eyes!” Squirrel mentions “cute little ears”; Fox, “a little pink nose”; Rabbit, a “teensy-weensy mouth”; Cat, “a soft little belly.” It’s Goat who finally fills in the whole picture: They “are going to see Baby Mouse! He was just born!” Diederen’s digital illustrations show the group growing in size and moving through space from left to right with each subsequent double-page spread until they arrive at the conclusion and gather around Baby Mouse, sound asleep in a bed of straw. There are no mouse parents about, which could prompt questions about who takes care of this new baby, but he’s certainly beloved by the crowd of animal friends. This book is all about celebrating a new baby rather than adjusting to its presence; the boldface cues in the text beg caregivers who are reading with children in their laps to point out each body part as they read and cuddle, offering loving tangible reinforcement to the text.

A sweet welcome for a new baby. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-372-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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