Sincere rather than sloppily sentimental…and, as ever, a marvel of intricate design.

LOVE

A pop-up apotheosis in the “I love you more than anything” genre.

The panjandrum of paper engineering presents a repeated “I love you…” on alternate flat spreads; he completes them with six animal pop-ups depicting peer or parental relationships and captioned by ways of loving. These range from “exactly the way you are,” for a crab carrying on its back a large sea anemone that unfolds spectacularly as the page turns, to “and will encourage you to do great things,” paired to a trio of polar bears sliding exuberantly down a snowy slope. Though his complex, inventive pop-ups are (as usual) mostly fashioned from heavy, white paper, he makes particularly fine use of color both in the minimalist backgrounds, where hues evoke diverse seasons or habitats, and in the figures themselves. The anemone, for instance, shines in shades of orange, and the yellow and purple bills of two facing swans on the final spread give the heart shape formed by their heads and necks an intimate glow. Though the theme of reassurance is simpler, or at least less abstract, than that in his most recent outing, Believe: A Pop-Up Book of Possibilities (2019), the art again invites both wonder and broader, extended reflections on the meaning of the words. Alas, poor type contrast on some spreads may have readers struggling to find them.

Sincere rather than sloppily sentimental…and, as ever, a marvel of intricate design. (Pop-up picture book. 5-adult)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1037-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers.

I LOVE YOU LIKE NO OTTER

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring through rhymed puns and sentimental art.

The title sets the scene for what’s to come: The owl asks the owlet as they fly together, “WHOO loves you?”; the kangaroo and joey make each other “very HOPPY”; and the lioness and cub are a “PURRRFECT pair.” Most of the puns are both unimaginative and groanworthy, and they are likely to go over the heads of toddlers, who are not know for their wordplay abilities. The text is set in abcb quatrains split over two double-page spreads. On each spread, one couplet appears on the verso within a lightly decorated border on pastel pages. On the recto, a full-bleed portrait of the animal and baby appears in softly colored and cozy images. Hearts are prominent on every page, floating between the parent and baby as if it is necessary to show the love between each pair. Although these critters are depicted in mistily conceived natural habitats and are unclothed, they are human stand-ins through and through.

The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers. (Board book. 6 mos-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1374-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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