From the You See, I See series

Excellent for sharing before or after a city walk.

A child does all the talking in this deceptively simple board book about the city adventure of a child with puffy pigtails and their lanky dad who sports a hipster’s porkpie hat.

Uncomplicated rhyming sentences are set in a blue type for what dad sees and orange for what the child notices, making their different perspectives clear. Carefully composed sketches similar in style to Jules Feiffer’s cartoons evoke the city’s hustle and bustle against white backgrounds. Seemingly casual pencil strokes deftly show dad’s and child’s changing emotions. For example, on the second spread, Dad looks up at “big skyscrapers,” while the child is more curious about a pile of newspapers. Dad seems always to have a destination—a bakery for apple strudel, a shortcut through the square—while the child is distracted by poodles and pigeons. Rural and suburban children may be confused by familiar vocabulary used in new ways, as in the sentence, “You see so much from the car” paired with a picture of the child craning to see out a subway train’s window. But everyone will understand the frustration expressed in the next line: “I cannot see very far.” Throughout, it is clear that this duo, both with light-brown skin, enjoy each other’s company.

Excellent for sharing before or after a city walk. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1500-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019


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


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