These cutesy board books come across as just more saccharine fluff.

I'M WILD ABOUT YOU!

From the Heart-Felt series

Sweet exclamations of unconditional love and admiration are the order of the day here.

Pattern sentences on five double-page spreads start the same way: “I love the way you....” On each page the sentence is completed using animal behavior as a metaphor. In Magsamen's persistently cheerful world, children monkeying around, stomping, and roaring are always appreciated, but toddlers may find that their own parents don’t always follow the book when they stomp and roar. The cartoonish animals modeled on hand-stitched stuffed animals make it clear that this is a fantasy world. Bright backgrounds make the childlike printed text stand out. On each spread the key verb is highlighted by a patchwork design. The pictures are not always clear; “monkey around” is illustrated by swinging monkeys, but a zebra beneath them figures more prominently. Illustrating penguins waddling is also tough. Itsy-Bitsy I Love You, published simultaneously, uses the same design features to rewrite the classic nursery song as a sappy ode to love, kisses, hugs, and cuddles. Felt features on the covers of both titles are tactile extras that may attract fingers but add nothing to the value or message.

These cutesy board books come across as just more saccharine fluff. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-46839-8

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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