It’s sweet, but it lacks the freshness that would make it stand out.

SILLY WONDERFUL YOU

A mother’s rhymes enumerate the many, varied (sometimes bewildering, sometimes beatific) ways her toddler tot has altered her life.

Looking back she wonders at how she never knew, “that our house could get this messy and LOUD! / Or that you’d be so silly, and giggly, and splashy, and CRASHY!” Bold, oversized lettering emphasizes already extremely effective onomatopoeic language that runs throughout, demonstrating how sounds resonate and dominate in a toddler’s home. McDonnell’s reliably astute ink, brush, and pen illustrations punctuate these rhymes with spirited freeze frames of mother’s mishaps (tub water in the eye, a block underfoot) and gleeful moments of surprise (unexpected fairy wings, glittery artwork, park frolics). Mommy’s red-rosebud mouth gapes, her eyes widen to oversized ovals, and miraculously her buttercup-blonde flip hairdo never changes shape! While perhaps a nod to the timelessness of a mother’s experience with her first baby, the mid-20th-century motif (down to mother’s black cigarette pants and white oxford shirt) and simple, straightforward rhymes leave this picture book feeling dated. One senses that just beyond the washes of gentle blues, pinks, and yellows that fill the background of each spread, just beyond the gauzy ether that spotlights these two familiar cartoonish caricatures, modern mothering scenes tell the same story, sharply, with poignancy—and through a whole spectrum of colors and faces.

It’s sweet, but it lacks the freshness that would make it stand out. (Picture book. 2-4) 

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-227105-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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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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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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