The sweet sibling relationship and the focus on Daddy as primary caregiver make this one stand out.


From the Backpack Baby series

Big brother Jacob helps Daddy take care of mischievous Little Sister in the newest offering in the Backpack Baby board-book series.

Neither Jacob nor his sister rides on Daddy’s back in this book. Here, Jacob walks, and Little Sister rides in a stroller—for a little while anyway. Adorable, grinning Little Sister wears a yellow dress with pink flowers and a matching hat, which she is desperate to jettison. She tosses it off her head, flings it into the water with the ducks, and finally succeeds in getting rid of it by propping it on the head of a passing puppy. While Little Sister’s antics provide comic relief, the real meat of the story is Jacob’s development, specifically the pleasure he gets from taking care of his sister and the bonding time he shares with Daddy. When Little Sister runs toward the duck pond, Jacob runs after her, wrapping his arms around her securely just as she reaches the edge. When the family stops for some ice cream, he and Daddy laugh together as Little Sister makes a mess, and they enjoy a needed rest when she finally takes a nap. The unfussy illustrations feature the three characters against solid backgrounds, emphasizing the interpersonal dynamics at the heart of the story.

The sweet sibling relationship and the focus on Daddy as primary caregiver make this one stand out. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59572-689-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Star Bright

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Treacle drips from every page. Find self-esteem elsewhere.


The voice of an omniscient narrator, who may or may not be a caregiver, speaks directly to an unhappy child with an invitation to a very special place.

The child follows directions to the beautiful title isle “just across the bay.” Ferried across by a toy elephant in a sailboat, the child is given an enthusiastic welcome by more adorable animals and some other children. The little one swims in a waterfall, rides a giant eagle, relaxes in a hammock, and happily engages with some of the other children. Several of the activities are stereotypically girl-associated, and the other children appear to be girls with varying skin tones and hair textures; the little protagonist has light skin and a brown pageboy and is only suggested as female. After elaborate entertainments and a sweet feast, the child is assured that “someone loves you very, very, very much” before being borne safely home. Deep purple, bright pastel pink, and yellow watercolors dominate the color palette, creating a magical, otherworldly atmosphere. But it is also somewhat creepy as well. The Isle of You exists only for the protagonist’s happiness, even the other children there, who appear to have no existence in the real world. Apparently intended to build self-esteem and comfort, it seems to encourage self-centeredness instead, as does the ending play on the pronunciation of the title words.

Treacle drips from every page. Find self-esteem elsewhere. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9116-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt.


A love song from parents to their child.

This title will seem quite similar to the many others about parents’ deep love for their children. The text is wholly composed of first-person declarations of parental love, and it’s juxtaposed with illustrations of the child with one or both parents. It’s not always clear who the “I” speaking is, and there are a few pages that instead use “we.” Most sentences begin with “I love you more” phrasing to communicate that nothing could undermine parental love: “I love you more than all the sleepless nights…and all the early, tired mornings.” The accompanying pictures depict the child as a baby with weary parents. Later spreads show the child growing up, and the phrasing shifts away from the challenges of parenting to its joys and to attempts to quantify love: “I love you more than all the blades of grass at the park…and all the soccer that we played.” Throughout, Bell’s illustrations use pastel tones and soft visual texture to depict cozy, wholesome scenes that are largely redundant of the straightforward, warm text. They feature a brown-haired family with a mother, father, and child, who all appear to be white (though the father has skin that’s a shade darker than the others’).

It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0652-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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