Dive into the spaghetti with gusto.

Mealtime can be messy.

When tiny tots are gaining independence and feeding themselves for the first time, food doesn’t always end up exactly where it is supposed to go. In a silly, rollicking rhyme, Day explores the many ways that highchair-time can go awry. The titular phrase says it all: “Applesauce is fun to wear / on your nose / or in your hair.” In Massey’s accompanying illustration, a bowl is upturned on a youngster’s head, spoon cast aside, applesauce dripping everywhere. Toast, spread thick with jam, proves to be an impossible urge to ignore: “Toast is always nice and flat. / What could make a better hat?” Plus, peas escape too easily; it’s not the toddler’s fault: “Roly-poly peas are fine / to squish / or fling / or put in line.” Oftentimes, eating can be more of a full-body experience than one limited to the sense of taste. Mashed bananas? Of course they turn into “gloppy gloves!” Massey provides a diverse cast of little ones in a pale palette, highlighting smears and smudges across tiny faces. They appear against a white background that is the opposite of clean, displaying little handprints and smears. The conclusion, which lands appropriately in the bath, is a bit slapdash, the playful rhyme having built momentum to what feels like an abrupt end. But the unbridled joy of messiness shines through. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 60.2% of actual size.)

Dive into the spaghetti with gusto. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-951836-05-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021


Bright, cheerful, and summery.

Revel in the pleasures of summer days.

The text’s three rhyming quatrains extol the season’s joys, from “birds in leafy trees” and “happy bees” to “eating berry pie” and “twinkling fireflies.” Cottage-dwelling woodland mammals get the full digital cartoon treatment, with giant eyes, exuberantly bushy tails, and bright clothing, hats, and eyewear. Readers see them enjoying a range of outdoor activities, from picnicking and splashing around in a pond to running barefoot in the grass and lounging in a hammock. The adorable diminutive mammals are the stars of the book, but the lively insects and birds make their presences felt too. This simple but sweet addition to the ever expanding bookshelf of estival books for younger children is more about imagery than plot, but that’s OK. The rhymes scan well, and the anaphoric repetition lends itself to read-alouds. The consistently double-page, full-bleed spreads allow readers to sense the scope of summer’s bounty. The artwork’s palette tracks the day’s arc, with morning yellows and greens ceding to violets and blues as twilight falls. Longhi’s illustrations fairly sparkle with light and Lisa Frank–esque colors. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Bright, cheerful, and summery. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66591-241-9

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022


From the Big Kid Power series

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end.

This book seeks to use the power of persuasion to vanquish that most formidable of opponents: toddlers.

In this entry in the Big Kid Power series, a little black girl makes no bones about the fact that pacifiers (or “binkies”) are strictly baby territory. When she was little she needed one, but that was then. Whether she’s tired, sad, or hungry, there are other ways of being comforted: hugs and polite requests, for instance. After she gives her binky to a baby and bids it a very clear goodbye, the book ends with a triumphant, “I’M A BIG KID!” Using a striking color combination of orange, brown, and black, van Lieshout keeps her pages bold and bright, complementing the simple vocabulary. Such declarations as, “Do I still have a binky? // NO, BIG KIDS DON’T NEED A BINKY. / NOPE!” leave scant wiggle room for argument. In her author’s note at the end, van Lieshout says that after speaking to many parents about how they helped their kids bid their pacifiers adieu, “many of them had in common…a ritual of some sort.” The ritual here seems to be giving the pacifier away, though it may be missed by many readers. Companion title I Use the Potty uses a similar approach, with a proud, white boy as its guide.

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3536-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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