Many bedtime books featuring animal sounds exist, but few are executed with such skill; this one has the potential to become...

ALL KINDS OF KISSES

That picture-book master for the very young, Caldecott Honoree Tafuri (Have You Seen My Duckling?, 1985), proves the barnyard a fertile setting in her latest offering.

As readers follow mama bird flying around the farm, various animals show affection for their families. In her classic oversized style, the author/illustrator uses watercolors to warmly portray creatures that fascinate young children. The simple text begins, “Little ones love kisses.” But “Little Chick loves Cheep kisses” and “Little Dove loves Cooo kisses.” The familiar barnyard animals included are painted close up, as if to appear life size. And although their common accompanying sounds are reflected in the text, readers will notice softly drawn words for the sounds emanating from the creatures’ mouths. Even an animal that is known for being silent is added: “Little Bunny loves quiet—Sniff—kisses!” The cozy story concludes with what most already know, “the best kiss of all… / is Mommy’s kiss good night.” Little ones will appreciate the large format and respond to the predictable repetition of the text. Slightly older children can interact further with the book by trying to find the blue bird on each full-bleed spread.

Many bedtime books featuring animal sounds exist, but few are executed with such skill; this one has the potential to become a classic. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-12235-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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