Going through this everyday routine with Bunny may assist adults in putting their own little bunnies to bed.

HUSH-A-BYE BUNNY

It’s that time of the day when Bunny must put all the toys away, eat a delicious dinner of carrots, radishes, and greens, have a bath, put on pajamas, and cuddle up with a loving adult rabbit while they read a book together.

The text is a loving, soothing four-line rhyme on every double-page spread, each one starting with the same first line: “Hush-a-bye, Bunny / my sweet sleepyhead. / Let’s eat up our dinner— / it’s soon time for bed.” The pastel illustrations show a charming little toddler Bunny wearing a striped green shirt playing with gender-neutral toys (stuffed animals, balls, coloring books) and then going through the usual evening routine up to donning a yellow polka-dot sleeper after the bath and listening to the older rabbit read a bunny mermaid book. However, when it’s time to get into bed and switch off the light, Bunny is not happy and gets tearful. The adult rabbit promises to “hug away worries / and kiss away tears,” which helps comfort Bunny into slumber. Back-of-the-book text refers to the adult rabbit, who wears a reddish-pink striped shirt, as Mommy Bunny, but the tender relationship they enjoy together is one that could exist between any loving adult and child.

Going through this everyday routine with Bunny may assist adults in putting their own little bunnies to bed. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9459-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A joyful celebration.

FAMILIES BELONG

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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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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