MOUSE IS SMALL

A winning reminder that sometimes the little guy comes out on top.

Size isn’t everything!

This well-designed board book is a short read that offers big entertainment for little readers. A series of endearing critters of sequentially increasing dimension, presented on pages of likewise increasing proportion, introduce the concept of relative size. Murphy’s simple and easily grasped line drawings have a degree of charm and personality well in excess of their sparse detail. Mouse and friends, Tortoise, Pelican, Zebra, Elephant, and Spider, inhabit brightly colored, monochromatic two-page spreads, each die-cut page on the right slightly larger than the page that preceded it. The pages are thick, very stiff, and easy for even rough little hands to grip and turn without tearing. The text is basic, easily assimilated, and well-matched to the illustrations. The flip-flap gimmick of graduated page size should encourage toddlers to enjoy this book both with their caregivers and independently. The parade of ever larger animals reaches an unexpected conclusion with an amusing reminder that bigger isn’t always better. This volume will be a quick read at bedtime, but it has the potential to become a real favorite of aspiring young readers and page-turners, and it should stand up well to significant abuse from typical toddlers.

A winning reminder that sometimes the little guy comes out on top. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9059-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

THE ABCS OF LOVE

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

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. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

SMILE, POUT-POUT FISH

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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