Short, simple, sweet—and more than likely to spur some similarly slobbery affection between parent and child.

SLOPPY WANTS A HUG

Dewdrop the fairy is willing to give every forest creature a hug—except for Sloppy the tree dragon. What has Sloppy done?

His name provides a clue, but Julian holds off on a direct answer until the end. Until then, Sloppy’s repeated pleas (“Why not?”) only earn stern refusals from the light-skinned, dragonfly-winged fairy: “You know why not.” Looking less like a conventional dragon than a sort of winged kangaroo covered in leaves, Sloppy cuts a decidedly fetching figure throughout—but neither pretending to be sad nor bringing homely presents like flowers or a big rock moves the angry urchin. So pitiable is Sloppy that readers will be mystified on his behalf. At last Dewdrop relents after seeing the sulky dragon kindly return a fallen baby bird to its nest…and is thereupon reminded what caused the rift in the first place, as Sloppy follows their makeup hug with a big, ultraslobbery lick. “Yuck!” In addition to giving Sloppy and Dewdrop a comfortable-looking forest to share with many agreeable friends, Julian displays a wry sense of humor in both Sloppy’s expressive body language and his considerate translations of the little bird’s dialogue, rendering all-purpose “Tweet”s as both “Help!” and “Thank you, Sloppy!”

Short, simple, sweet—and more than likely to spur some similarly slobbery affection between parent and child. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4273-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Treacle drips from every page. Find self-esteem elsewhere.

ISLE OF YOU

The voice of an omniscient narrator, who may or may not be a caregiver, speaks directly to an unhappy child with an invitation to a very special place.

The child follows directions to the beautiful title isle “just across the bay.” Ferried across by a toy elephant in a sailboat, the child is given an enthusiastic welcome by more adorable animals and some other children. The little one swims in a waterfall, rides a giant eagle, relaxes in a hammock, and happily engages with some of the other children. Several of the activities are stereotypically girl-associated, and the other children appear to be girls with varying skin tones and hair textures; the little protagonist has light skin and a brown pageboy and is only suggested as female. After elaborate entertainments and a sweet feast, the child is assured that “someone loves you very, very, very much” before being borne safely home. Deep purple, bright pastel pink, and yellow watercolors dominate the color palette, creating a magical, otherworldly atmosphere. But it is also somewhat creepy as well. The Isle of You exists only for the protagonist’s happiness, even the other children there, who appear to have no existence in the real world. Apparently intended to build self-esteem and comfort, it seems to encourage self-centeredness instead, as does the ending play on the pronunciation of the title words.

Treacle drips from every page. Find self-esteem elsewhere. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9116-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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