Another pleasant outing with Lois and Bob

Uncluttered illustrations in muted shades set a beachy tone for Lois and Bob’s third outing.

Following the pattern established in Lois Looks for Bob at Home and Lois Looks for Bob at the Park (both 2018), Lois, a big-eyed tuxedo cat, looks behind a bucket, a rock, a beach bag, a sailboat, and an ice cream cone before finding Bob the bird behind a beach ball. Lois is always on the left-hand page; the large, die-cut gatefold flap is on the right. A hint of what might be hidden behind each flap is visible. On the final spread, Lois is also behind the beach ball, having found her friend. Where the gatefold is hinged changes on each spread. While this adds to the guesswork, it also presents a challenge for youngsters just learning how to manipulate pages and suggests an audience with some degree of small-motor skills. The flaps are also thinner than the board pages and may tear when pulled by strong little hands. As in the earlier titles, each hidden animal is greeted by a proper name (the sea gull is Geoffrey, the sea turtle is Maureen, etc.) rather than the name of the species. Most adult readers will automatically supply that missing information. A follow-up question printed on the inside of each flap (“Aren’t his feet a lovely color?”) invites further adult/child interaction.

Another pleasant outing with Lois and Bob . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0588-6

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019


A joyful celebration.

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. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020


An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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