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TEDDY, LET'S GO!

Comforting as hugging a beloved stuffed animal.

The ever relevant tale of a beloved stuffed animal.

Teddy is a soft-looking orange bear with striped trousers and little suspenders. Made with love by Grandma, the bear grows up with a little girl they call “My” because it’s her “favorite word.” Readers watch as My grows up through Teddy’s eyes. The two share birthdays and baths together. Teddy has tea parties with the other stuffed animals while My goes to school; later, Teddy accompanies My to camp. But My starts to outgrow her companion, and soon Teddy is often forgotten, left in the car or on the dresser, though they are still a treasured friend to be cuddled when needed. Eventually, illustrations reveal a new family member is expected, and when the baby boy arrives, Teddy is lovingly passed along—after a bath and a few small repairs. Presented in straightforward prose, Nott’s simple story about the unconditional love of a stuffed animal will provide reassurance for anyone outgrowing a comfort object. Kazemi’s illustrations are tenderly rendered in pencil and soft, smudgy pastel and rely on a mix of panels and spreads; these cozy scenes will hold the attention of even the youngest readers. My and her family have pale skin and dark hair. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Comforting as hugging a beloved stuffed animal. (Picture book. 1-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-59270-368-5

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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FAMILIES BELONG

A joyful celebration.

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. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

Wonderful, indeed

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A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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