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)