All in all, a cheerful bilingual introduction to familiar emotions.


From the Canticos series

Translating feelings into simple pictures and words is a challenge in one language; this book does it in both English and Spanish.

Eleven emotions are named in English and Spanish opposite a cheery cartoon animal. Lift the almost-full-page flap to find a question (in both languages) above the creature demonstrating the emotion. Happy and sad are straightforward, so the sentence under each flap asks, “Can you show me a happy [or sad] face?” With more complex, nuanced emotions, the question becomes a variation on “How does feeling excited look? / ¿Cómo estar emocionado/a?” (An anthropomorphic star demonstrates.) Gender variants of the Spanish words are consistently indicated by ending the word with o/a. Prompted by changes in facial expressions and posture, young children will readily act out the feelings. A cartoon chick demonstrates happy/feliz, sad/triste, brave/valiente, and afraid/asustado while an angry/enjado elephant, surprised/sorprendida spider, confused/confundido bunny, proud/ogulloso frog, and tired/cansada chicken also make appearances. A brown-skinned human child with a Troll-like shock of orange hair models shy/timido. There is no pronunciation guide, but the publisher’s YouTube site (referenced on the back cover) includes a bilingual reading.

All in all, a cheerful bilingual introduction to familiar emotions. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-945635-35-9

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Encantos

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A joyful celebration.


Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.


Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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