Just fine for an extra reading hug at bedtime.

NEVER LET YOU GO

A penguin parent assures a penguin child that love will always be there.

The bowling-pin–shaped adult penguin is purple and smiles affectionately at its rounded, slightly-brighter-purple little one, while qualifying the various circumstances that might modify the declaration in the opening pages: “I will never let you go.” “Except” continues the large penguin speaking to the small penguin, “when you need to go to the bathroom.” And eat lunch or draw a picture. “But other than that, little one…I will never let you go.” And then, amusingly, some more exceptions: “when you have to chase the stars,” “throw a tantrum,” “need some quiet time”—and finally: “want to play with your friends.” Here the little penguin is seen happily bouncing away to a group of young penguins but returning to give a reassuring hug to the loving big penguin and repeat the words: “I will never let you go.” The digitally colored brush, ink, and charcoal art is simple and clear, and the humor and truth of the exceptions woven into the hyperbolic promise of “never” keep the message of unconditional love (except possibly for that tantrum) from being saccharine or claustrophobic.

Just fine for an extra reading hug at bedtime. (Picture book. 18 mos.-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-3871-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

more