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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A swell read for the lighthearted. (Board book. 1-3)

THE BUNNY RABBIT SHOW!

The bunnies that inhabit Boynton’s colorful world put on a musical show for the other animals.

The rabbits have taken over the theater. They dance and sing, bragging about their long ears and twitchy noses for the pigs and chickens in the audience. The rhythmic chorus—“We are ten terrific rabbits and we like to dance and sing. / Ten terrific rabbits. We can do almost anything”—is mighty infectious. The author’s trademark wit and humor are on full display as the other animals dress up like bunnies and join the massive grand finale. The barnyard cast forms a musical troupe that amuses and delights. Adults will appreciate the clever sight gags, and small children will appreciate the tasteful boasting and empowering jingle. While it’s not as complete a vehicle for inculcating emergent language skills as many of Boynton’s other books, there’s no denying it’s got verve.

A swell read for the lighthearted. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8060-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2014

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Superlative silliness.

MY DAD IS AMAZING

Extol the virtues of parents in this and its companion volume, My Mom is Magical.

Each of these winning board books is dedicated to the respective, titular parent of the author-and-illustrator team, sisters Sabrina and Eunice Moyle, who together are the design studio Hello!Lucky. The over-the-top enthusiasm of these volumes may, therefore, be reasonably excused, as the creative team’s love for their subjects seems as sincere as it is hyperbolic. A series of wild metaphors and analogies celebrate Dad or Mom; the near-blinding bright colors and kinetic, even chaotic illustrations perfectly complement the exuberant text. “My Dad is cooler than a million Popsicles!” “My Mom is cuddlier than a mountain yak!” A friendly, hipsterized yeti that looks like an extra from Where the Wild Things Are plays Dad, while Mom is rendered as a sparkly unicorn with rainbow mane and tail—who strikes heroic poses. Descriptive phrasing ranges from sweet to laugh-out-loud silly: Dad, for example, is “funnier than a bunch of underpants!” Funny indeed! Each volume ends by switching voices to break the fourth wall: “Kid, you’re amazing” (or “magical”) “too!” Both books are visual treats, sure to engage with their brilliant hues and inventive (if occasionally stereotypical) images. Dad is imagined at one point as a masked, lucha libre wrestler, for example, and Mom teaches a classroom of owlets mathematical formulae in glasses and an “I [heart] Math” T-shirt. Families may want both books, or either, as applicable.

Superlative silliness. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2961-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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