You just gotta “love, love, love” this joy-filled book

This Australian import is a 24-page affirmation of self-worth for children everywhere.

Morgan and Kwaymullina, both from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia, use traditional Aboriginal-style art to illustrate the unique attributes that make a child loved and lovable. Vibrant, patterned colors in deep, rich hues frame each page while dots, stripes, stars, and swirling bands of color emphasize the joyous message. Two smiling brown-skinned children, sometimes joined by a black-and-white spotted dog, are haloed in variously colored auras that emphasize their singularity and seem to radiate self-love. The occasional rhymes in the text are unobtrusive but not forced. “Thin” is rhymed with “green,” and “loud” with “proud.” But when a rhyme is not readily available, the rhyme scheme is sensibly abandoned in favor of clarity; there is no attempt to rhyme “I love me! I love my ears. I love my laugh. / I love the way my toes make art.” Onomatopoeic words repeated three times (“tap,” “thump,” etc.) add energy and rhythm. On the next-to-last page, one child with crossed arms looks directly at readers to ask, “Who else would I be?” before returning to the refrain, “And I love, love, love me!”

You just gotta “love, love, love” this joy-filled book . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5248-5116-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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

Close Quickview