B IS FOR BABY

A photograph album of ordinary verses about extraordinary babies by a poet (Festivals, p. 456, etc.) who has written more portentous works, but perhaps not such personal ones. Arranged alphabetically, most of the verses use the designated letter to describe the baby in an activity pictured, e.g., B for ``Bathtub-Baby,'' K for ``Kicking-Baby,'' T for ``Throwing-Baby,'' etc. Some of the verses are unpolished—``Christmas-Baby'' ``falls asleep/and smiles to be/dreaming/of her Christmas tree''—while others are pedestrian —``glad to see/his mother's face,/glad to see/his special space,/glad to hear/his doggy bark,/glad he'll get to/see the park.'' The march through the alphabet can be a bit grim and determined, with V for baby's ``Vim and Vigor,'' X for the kisses a baby is trying to escape, and Y for older babies who know how to ``Yell.'' A few display humor and originality: ``Swinging-Baby'' is a poem that swings with the playground equipment and gives readers plenty of leeway for its recitation. The babies—in a multiracial array—are portrayed in inventive photographs that convey the children as strong individuals; when photo and poem mesh, the result can be quite winsome. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80950-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1996

WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES, MR. BROWN?

Pedestrian.

Mr. Brown can’t help with farm chores because his shoes are missing—a common occurrence in his household and likely in many readers’ as well.

Children will be delighted that the titular Mr. Brown is in fact a child. After Mr. Brown looks in his closet and sorts through his other family members’ shoes with no luck, his father and his siblings help him search the farm. Eventually—after colorful pages that enable readers to spot footwear hiding—the family gives up on their hunt, and Mr. Brown asks to be carried around for the chores. He rides on his father’s shoulders as Papa gets his work done, as seen on a double-page spread of vignettes. The resolution is more of a lesson for the adult readers than for children, a saccharine moment where father and son express their joy that the missing shoes gave them the opportunity for togetherness—with advice for other parents to appreciate those fleeting moments themselves. Though the art is bright and cheerful, taking advantage of the setting, it occasionally is misaligned with the text (for example, the text states that Mr. Brown is wearing his favorite green shirt while the illustration is of a shirt with wide stripes of white and teal blue, which could confuse readers at the point where they’re trying to figure out which family member is Mr. Brown). The family is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Pedestrian. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-5460-0389-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

BUNNY MONEY

From the Max & Ruby series

In the siblings' latest adventure, their grandmother is having a birthday (again! see Bunny Cakes, p. 67), so Ruby takes Max shopping. A music box with skating ballerinas is Ruby's idea of the perfect present; Max favors a set of plastic vampire teeth. Ruby's $15 goes fast, and somehow, most of it is spent on Max. The music box of Ruby's dreams costs $100, so she settles for musical earrings instead. There isn't even a dollar left for the bus, so Max digs out his lucky quarter and phones Grandma, who drives them home—happily wearing her new earrings and vampire teeth. As ever, Wells's sympathies are with the underdog: Max, in one-word sentences, out-maneuvers his officious sister once again. Most six- year-olds will be able to do the mental subtraction necessary to keep track of Ruby's money, and Wells helps by illustrating the wallet and its dwindling contents at the bottom of each page where a transaction occurs. Younger children may need to follow the author's suggestion and have an adult photocopy the ``bunny money'' on the endpapers, so they can count it out. Either way, the book is a great adjunct to primary-grade math lessons. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8037-2146-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997

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