Quay’s striking illustrations cannot rescue this one.

BABY BEDTIME

A beautifully rendered, anthropomorphic elephant tenderly (sort of) puts a pachyderm child to bed.

The first four sets of pages feature large, bold, purple words on the verso and charmingly smudgy pastel-and-collage artwork on the recto. The initial phrase, “I could eat your little ears,” is set opposite a watercolor adult elephant wearing a patterned bathrobe and affectionately embracing a baby elephant. The background is a tastefully decorated room, including a lacy chair holding a thumbed-through (or perhaps trunked-through) book. Established, the pattern follows with this banal-at-best and alarming-at-worst text: “I could nibble on your nose. / I could munch your tiny fingers. / I could gobble up your toes.” The pastel purple and gold artwork mesmerizes, as the adult elephant tenderly hoists the baby and proceeds to carry it upstairs toward the bedroom. The text then mentions numerous other possible, now-gentle actions by the adult elephant, as in “I could sing you all the songs that my mother sang to me.” Eventually, the rhyming text reaches the expected conclusion, with the adult elephant gently kissing the babe, laid in a bassinet, to sleep. Though it is eminently clear that this child is not about to become supper, the cannibalistic opening quatrain followed by a gushingly affectionate outpouring makes for a book that only a certain type of grandparent could read aloud to a very young grandchild.

Quay’s striking illustrations cannot rescue this one. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2097-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers.

I LOVE YOU MORE, BABYSAUR

From the Punderland series

A board-book ode to parental love as old as the dinosaurs.

A line of text on the left of each spread reads like a dinosaur-themed valentine that a third grader might choose, with punishingly punny wordplay that incorporates dinosaur-related words. On the facing page a dinosaur pair—a baby and an adult—gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes against whimsical, pastel-hued prehistoric-ish backgrounds. In smaller print, in all caps, at the bottom of the left page is the scientific name for the dinosaur referenced by the text and picture followed by a helpful phonetic pronunciation guide. White-outlined footprints appear next to their names, though the white is sometimes difficult to see against the pastel pages. Ten of the best-known dinosaurs are included. Twisting the dinosaur names to fit the loving sentiments succeeds some of the time but more often results in tortured text, well beyond the understanding of the board book audience. The line accompanying two hugging velociraptors, for instance, is just confusing: “Wrap-TOR arms around me, / with you I’ll always stay.” Others are just plain clumsy: “I-wanna-GUANODON you kisses, / I truly just adore you.” Very young children, even those fascinated by dinosaurs, will not get it. Older dinosaur fans will be put off by the babyish format.

Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2295-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Sweet—but more for adults than children.

ALL THE LOVE IN THE WORLD

A doting pair of adult bears follows a baby bear through a busy day.

These fully engaged caregivers are clearly awed by the little cub, starting with “You’re the morning sunshine” and ending with “you sleep so peacefully / beneath the twinkling stars.” In between, the baby bear paints a picture, sings with one adult, tickles with the other, drinks cocoa, takes a walk and flies a kite, rides a bike, and is playfully swung in the air before a bath. Much of the action is communicated only by the pictures. The tender rhyming verses focus on the wonder of familial love. Every other stanza ends with the refrain: “This world of ours is full of love / when you are here with me.” Curiously, although this cub has two present, caregiving adults, the narrative, presumably addressed to the child, uses the first-person singular. The baby bear is presented as gender-neutral, first in orange-and-green polka-dot pajamas and then in blue jeans with a white shirt graced with yellow ducks. Although neither adult bear is gendered in the text, the illustrations use stereotypical cues: One wears a yellow dress decorated with hearts; the other wears a striped shirt (and no trousers). No one can miss that the baby bear is the adults’ little darling.

Sweet—but more for adults than children. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-603-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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