This is one breakfast to skip.

TOAST TO FAMILY

From the Toast to Baby series

The faces of a white-bread family—literally—are created on slices of toast with condiment features.

Every member is introduced, one face per page, including pets, grandparents and cousins. Dad Toast has a large pat of butter for a nose, and squiggles of what looks to be apple butter make the mouth, eyes and eyebrows. The image of Brother Toast uses large panels of American cheese and squirts of red jelly to make a baseball hat, two beady eyes and a food-stained mouth. Bold text written in a brown type labels each family member and describes the characteristics of some (“Grandpa Toast, a bald head”). The family cat and dog meow and woof, and Grandma Toast utters the sole line of dialogue: “‘Hi, Honey!’” All of these images were made using kiln-formed glass. The back-cover blurb states that artists Gross and Busch make it their mission to introduce “young children to the wonderful properties of glass.” As talented as they are, why they chose to make a toast family is baffling. Few of the toast faces look appetizing, with cheese, jam, honey and a white substance (cream cheese?) all on one slice of bread. Many of the faces will be too abstract for young children—Teen Toast apparently has no eyes, Aunt Maude’s are odd splotches, and the honey-made mouth of one of the Toasty Twin Cousins is hard to discern.

This is one breakfast to skip. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936669-18-9

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A sweet if uneven expression of parents’ love for babies.

EVERYTHING YOU

A love song to baby.

Rhyming verse expresses animal parents’ love for their little ones and is accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations of animal families rendered in bold colors and rounded forms. The succinct text pairs nicely with the spare art style, which offers uncluttered spreads focused on the parent-and-child interactions. “You’re everything FRESH, / the morning’s first dew,” reads one spread, for example, which is illustrated with a picture of a panda cub standing on top of its prone parent while reaching for a dewdrop falling from a branch. Behind them, a blue background is warmed by a huge, yellow semicircle representing the rising sun. Other animal families occupy other pages, so there’s no sequential storyline to speak of, but the text as a whole is framed by an opening spread depicting crocodile parents waiting for their (very large) egg to hatch, and hatch it does in the closing spread, which reads, “You’re every wish answered, / our hearts, how they grew… / every day countless, / everything you.” While the sentiment here is heartfelt, this use of “every day countless” is one example of several instances when word choices undermine clarity.

A sweet if uneven expression of parents’ love for babies. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30141-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Sweet—but more for adults than children.

ALL THE LOVE IN THE WORLD

A doting pair of adult bears follows a baby bear through a busy day.

These fully engaged caregivers are clearly awed by the little cub, starting with “You’re the morning sunshine” and ending with “you sleep so peacefully / beneath the twinkling stars.” In between, the baby bear paints a picture, sings with one adult, tickles with the other, drinks cocoa, takes a walk and flies a kite, rides a bike, and is playfully swung in the air before a bath. Much of the action is communicated only by the pictures. The tender rhyming verses focus on the wonder of familial love. Every other stanza ends with the refrain: “This world of ours is full of love / when you are here with me.” Curiously, although this cub has two present, caregiving adults, the narrative, presumably addressed to the child, uses the first-person singular. The baby bear is presented as gender-neutral, first in orange-and-green polka-dot pajamas and then in blue jeans with a white shirt graced with yellow ducks. Although neither adult bear is gendered in the text, the illustrations use stereotypical cues: One wears a yellow dress decorated with hearts; the other wears a striped shirt (and no trousers). No one can miss that the baby bear is the adults’ little darling.

Sweet—but more for adults than children. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-603-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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