CROCODILES NEED KISSES TOO

Even rough animals need affection.

Rhyming verses with bang-on scansion declare that animals who are considered noncuddly still need cuddles: “Despite their lumpy, bumpy hide, / toothy mouths stretched open wide, // just like me and just like you, / crocodiles need kisses too.” These porcupines, rattlesnakes, vultures, sharks, tigers, tarantulas, and gorillas also need squeezes, nuzzles, smooches, and tickles. The animals’ textually described dangerousness juxtaposes with the art, which shows gentle creatures: A rattlesnake’s “pointy fangs” are too rounded to puncture anything; tigers evoke mischievous toddlers; a porcupine’s “prickly spines, / sharpened quills raised up in lines,” far from being raised, actually angle downward as the critter peers meekly out from behind a tree. A shark fin is daunting, and a tarantula’s huge legs crawling out toward readers may startle them, but both sharks and tarantulas have affable smiles and harmless, curved bodies after each page turn reveals the whole creature. An ending twist changes the crocodile into a (brown-skinned) child in a crocodile suit, receiving hugs from a (lighter-skinned) adult. Dullaghan’s illustrations use acrylic paint texture well. However, they have a casual air and a lack of punch that, instead of creating meaningful juxtaposition with the verses, dilute the text’s hardiness and specificity. Sometimes the art leans toward the saccharine—rattlesnake bodies forming a heart—and Colby’s cloying ultimate moral that “children need affection too” isn’t particularly useful to child or adult readers.

Genial but forgettable. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-451-48007-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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