TICKLE TUM!

With exuberant verse, Van Laan (When Winter Comes, 2000, etc.) cheerfully turns supper into child’s play. Mealtime has never been such fun as a rabbit mother and her tot frolic their way through a meal. The doting mother uses rollicking rhymes and games to alternately entertain and coax her little one to eat. With an ebullient blend of nonsense words and bouncy word play, Van Laan’s jolly verses are just right for little ears. “Tippa tip tat / slinga finga bat / peas roll across the floor, / pounce goes the cat!” Classic dinner games such as choo-choo train, here-comes-the-bird, and the old-fashioned chin chopper are included, as well as a few new ones packed with toddler-pleasing silliness. Pons’s gleeful illustrations capture the loving fun of mother and child. Soft-hued watercolors feature the rabbit duo happily engaged in mealtime messiness. Human children will instantly recognize familiar minutiae of childhood in the young bunny’s house, from the wooden highchair to the lidded sippy cup. The sprightly pace, combined with Pons’s oversized, cleanly drawn illustrations make this an ideal read-aloud for the toddler and preschool set. Whether or not they will actually consume their meals as a result of this rambunctious tale remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Van Laan’s culinary escapade is sure to leave them smiling. (Picture book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83143-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers.

I LOVE YOU MORE, BABYSAUR

From the Punderland series

A board-book ode to parental love as old as the dinosaurs.

A line of text on the left of each spread reads like a dinosaur-themed valentine that a third grader might choose, with punishingly punny wordplay that incorporates dinosaur-related words. On the facing page a dinosaur pair—a baby and an adult—gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes against whimsical, pastel-hued prehistoric-ish backgrounds. In smaller print, in all caps, at the bottom of the left page is the scientific name for the dinosaur referenced by the text and picture followed by a helpful phonetic pronunciation guide. White-outlined footprints appear next to their names, though the white is sometimes difficult to see against the pastel pages. Ten of the best-known dinosaurs are included. Twisting the dinosaur names to fit the loving sentiments succeeds some of the time but more often results in tortured text, well beyond the understanding of the board book audience. The line accompanying two hugging velociraptors, for instance, is just confusing: “Wrap-TOR arms around me, / with you I’ll always stay.” Others are just plain clumsy: “I-wanna-GUANODON you kisses, / I truly just adore you.” Very young children, even those fascinated by dinosaurs, will not get it. Older dinosaur fans will be put off by the babyish format.

Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2295-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Sweet—but more for adults than children.

ALL THE LOVE IN THE WORLD

A doting pair of adult bears follows a baby bear through a busy day.

These fully engaged caregivers are clearly awed by the little cub, starting with “You’re the morning sunshine” and ending with “you sleep so peacefully / beneath the twinkling stars.” In between, the baby bear paints a picture, sings with one adult, tickles with the other, drinks cocoa, takes a walk and flies a kite, rides a bike, and is playfully swung in the air before a bath. Much of the action is communicated only by the pictures. The tender rhyming verses focus on the wonder of familial love. Every other stanza ends with the refrain: “This world of ours is full of love / when you are here with me.” Curiously, although this cub has two present, caregiving adults, the narrative, presumably addressed to the child, uses the first-person singular. The baby bear is presented as gender-neutral, first in orange-and-green polka-dot pajamas and then in blue jeans with a white shirt graced with yellow ducks. Although neither adult bear is gendered in the text, the illustrations use stereotypical cues: One wears a yellow dress decorated with hearts; the other wears a striped shirt (and no trousers). No one can miss that the baby bear is the adults’ little darling.

Sweet—but more for adults than children. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-603-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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