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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A joyful celebration.

FAMILIES BELONG

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more