Guess how much you’ll be reading this.

YOU ARE MY HAPPY

Parent and child share a day of small adventures and cozy snuggles.

That the two happen to be tortoises is totally beside the point. Die-cut holes and shaped edges turn nearly every page flip into a surprise. Following a parental “Good morning, Baby” to greet the youngling’s “Wake up, wake up, I want to play… / The sun is up, it’s a brand new day!” the two reptiles ramble off to munch on leaves, weather a sudden rain shower, discover a flock of butterflies, climb a hill, watch the moon rise, and, at last, weary little one perched on top, settle down to snooze again. The paper engineering is ingenious. Turning a seemingly arbitrarily shaped page with a special window framing a pink butterfly fills the spread with many jewel-toned insects; even though the tortoises never change position, the scene is completely transformed. Hegarty’s rhymed narrative features lots of tender sentiments—“Wherever you are, wherever you go, / Baby, I’ll always love you so”—while steering clear of any gender references. In Elliott’s peaceful, grassy settings the wanderers’ small smiles and shared glances likewise create a sense of loving intimacy. This is likely to become a victim of its own appeal, being as the paper stock is rather too flimsy to survive much contact with toddler hands. Still, a clear winner for sharing with audiences of one or dozens.

Guess how much you’ll be reading this. (Novelty. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-3509-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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