An endearing picture book about the relationship between father and son.

RAJ AND THE BEST DAY EVER!

Raj, pictured as a tiger cub, plans an adventure-filled day out with his dad.

“Today is going to be the BEST DAY EVER!” he tells readers, as he and his dad make a long list of all the things Raj wants to do. They walk to the library—the first item on their list—where Raj chooses his favorite book. But when they go to check the book out, Dad realizes that he’s forgotten to bring his wallet! No wallet means that they can’t do all the things on the list, and Raj is disappointed. When it begins to rain, Raj is convinced that it is going to be the “WORST DAY EVER,” until he gets an idea that might improve it. Father and son go on to modify Raj’s list to make their own entertainment—for instance, having a picnic instead of going to the cafe—to compensate for the forgotten wallet. All the characters are represented as animals, and Braun’s simple narrative and bright, colorful illustrations reinforce the happy-go-lucky theme of the picture book. Despite the protagonist’s stereotypical Indian name and depiction as a tiger, the picture book is very Western in its representations (from the clothes the characters wear to the foods they eat).

An endearing picture book about the relationship between father and son. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0570-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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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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