A warm if not very ecumenical dose of holiday cheer, with some unobtrusive guidance for young makers and helpers.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHRISTMAS

Flaps, pull-tabs, and wheels add interactive elements to this celebration of Christmastime.

The (entirely secular) activities themselves are standard-issue—ranging from cutting and decorating a tree to “building snowmen,” decorating cookies, wrapping gifts, singing carols, and standing in line to sit on Santa’s lap. What sets this apart from the crowd of pre-Christmas panegyrics is an unusual focus on process: the art on the front of a handmade card, for instance, shows the steps in drawing the simple reindeer within; turning a wheel displays through a shaped cutout a cookie going from plain to decorated, and on the verso a tree going through the same stages. The cozy cartoon illustrations feature a family of brown bears in human dress headed by a mother and father, but more-diverse groups of wildlife and livestock put in appearances for caroling and standing in line. “With all the things to see and do,” Cocca-Leffler concludes in a pop-up Christmas morning scene, “what I love BEST about Christmas… / …is time with YOU!”

A warm if not very ecumenical dose of holiday cheer, with some unobtrusive guidance for young makers and helpers. (Novelty/board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1820-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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