While this father-and-son relationship is lovely and their habitat delightful, in this case, neither is well-suited to...

LOOK WHAT I CAN DO

A FIRST CONCEPTS BOOK

From the Guess How Much I Love You series

Little Nutbrown Hare explores colors, actions, shapes, numbers, sounds and the natural world on seven double-page spreads as his doting father looks on.

Beyond the basic captions typically found in concept books, the text includes father-and-son dialogue that echoes Guess How Much I Love You: “Would you rather be a caterpillar or a frog?” asks Big Nutbrown Hare. “I’d rather be big like you,” the little one replies. Jeram’s lovely, soft watercolors appear to be a mix of illustrations recycled from other books in the popular series and original paintings. As a concept book, it is a mixed bag. The pages focusing on numbers are the most successful, with oversized numbers on the outsides of 10 flaps and pictures of dainty critters, from one bird to 10 ladybugs, to count on the insides. Less effective is the spread demonstrating colors; it utilizes flimsier flaps with blocks of the hue in question on the exteriors and almost-too-subtle-in-color illustrations of vegetation on the interiors. While the pages titled “Actions” effectively show the young hare engaging in a nice variety of movements (including sniffing and blowing), the “Shapes” section only introduces three shapes, and the geometric square looks a little out of place in this English wood.

While this father-and-son relationship is lovely and their habitat delightful, in this case, neither is well-suited to teaching about a more conceptual world. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7064-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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