This is developmentally appropriate nonfiction for the youngest animal lovers.

BABY ANIMALS TAKE A BATH

Two-word descriptions and realistic art depict the ways a variety of baby animals bathe.

“Snow bath” shows a young polar-bear cub enjoying a roll in the snow; across the spread, a sea-lion pup snoozes on a sandy beach in a “sun bath.” The book continues with a variety of bathing techniques, including “dust bath” (zebra foal), “mud bath” (hippopotamus calf), and “tongue bath” (tiger cub). Tildes’ sunny paintings fill each page, with a squiggly black line as an informal border. The final double-page spread reveals a white infant with brown hair and brown eyes in a baby bathtub receiving a “bubble bath!” The companion book, Baby Animals Take a Nap, follows the same formula to demonstrate how baby critters rest, often with a grown-up in close proximity. The title ends with a white baby peacefully snoozing in the crook of a grown-up’s arm, likely the babe’s father. Both offerings list the animals depicted in order of appearance in the book on the back cover. While the imagery in both may skew to the adorable, the information it presents is solid.

This is developmentally appropriate nonfiction for the youngest animal lovers. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-538-5

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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