Sentimental and derivative.

MAMA LOVES HER LITTLE LLAMA

A baby llama queries other animals in search of mama.

A woolly cria asks a cow, a pig, a cat, and a horse the same question: “Are you my mama?” Each animal responds in the negative with a rhymed retort: “No, I’m a pig. That’s my gig!” The smiling baby llama always appears on recto with eyes closed so it’s beneath two plush llama ears securely attached to the top of the back cover. This gimmick is the only new feature in the overplayed baby-llama–and-mama genre, and only the very youngest listeners will be surprised when the cria finds its mama and she declares her love for the baby. The companion title, the slightly more engaging and original I Love You Little Monster! also embeds plush elements into the back cover, but this time it is monster horns. On each right-hand page, a different monster with the same green horns appears. The theme here is the hoary one of unconditional love, as the unseen first-person narrator proclaims that love will be bestowed even if the monster in question gets angry, jumps in mud puddles, or causes bathtub floods. Magsamen’s signature look of faux stitch-work and brightly colored lettering is at play in both the images and on key words in the text. Hearts are sprinkled throughout the sunny art.

Sentimental and derivative. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-62917-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love.

LEO LOVES DADDY

A fun-loving daddy’s dedication is apparent in this slice-of-life board book.

Leo, a brown-skinned boy with tight curls, full lips, and a broad nose, delights in playing with Daddy, who has equally clearly Black features. Leo wakes up to Daddy tickling his tummy. Then this superinvolved father fixes pancakes, dances, takes Leo on a bike ride, and tends to Leo’s scraped knee. Together they build with blocks, take a bath, and snuggle with a book before bed. Companion title Leo Loves Mommy follows a similar trajectory through the day. Leo builds a blanket fort with couch cushions, practices yoga, and paints with his mother, who also presents Black. After a bike ride, mommy’s lunch “is so flashy”: celery and carrot sticks turned into edible critters with fruit and nuts. The loving devotion of both parents is tangible and genuine, sweet but not cloying. Simple two-line sentences with unobtrusive rhymes across spreads provide descriptions of the activities and add vocabulary. Each spread illustrates one event against a clear solid color background, free of distracting decoration. Together they complete a full picture of a busy toddler’s day and his loving relationship with each parent.

Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-241-2

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for...

HELLO LAMB

This simple board book invites little ones to greet baby farm animals (including frog, bunny, and bee) with their corresponding sounds.

The first double-page spread greets readers with a bright yellow smiling sun and the text “Hello, Sun. / Hello, Day. / Wake up, babies. / Time to play!” Each succeeding spread has a distinct, gently patterned background, with very brief text on the verso (“Hello Puppy! / Woof Woof”). Filling up the recto is a vibrant illustration of the baby animal’s face, wide eyed and smiling, outlined in black. The final spread presents the face of a cute baby with chalky brown-gray skin, bright black eyes, and short black hair: “Goo Goo.” Babies and toddlers will enjoy looking at the baby faces, animals and human, and repeating the sounds. A companion book, Goodnight Bear, has a similar pattern of text and illustrations, though the palette is suitably darker. The moon, surprisingly, has its eyes shut, and succeeding spreads depict an owlet, a baby bat, a baby hedgehog, and other familiar nocturnal baby animals, all wide-awake and smiling. The final spread depicts a cute baby with pale skin, blond hair, and closed eyes.

It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for the target audience. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0430-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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