Along with a set of nesting dolls, this sweet book would be a wonderful gift for a special child.

MASHA AND HER SISTERS

This die-cut board book inspired by the Russian matryoshka has doll-shaped cardboard pages, with each page turning downward to present the next, slightly larger “nesting” sibling.

The five sisters have similar faces, each with a sweet smile and a shawl on her head, and each one has distinctly colored hair, eyes, and body, though all are white. The single sentence of text set on each sister names her and her hobby or personality—“Larissa is the performer”; “Masha is the collector”—and retro-styled illustrations on the fronts and backs of their bodies echo their passions. Olya the chef is depicted with pots, pans, spoons, measuring cups, and whisks, while nature-loving Galya is depicted with various fauna and flora. Young children will be delighted to discover that the pages don’t turn the traditional way, but the illustrations at the back of each sister show upside down, which could be difficult for younger kids. Although the cardboard pages are sturdy and they are held together with reinforced binding tape, whether this book as a whole is tough enough for repeated use is not clear, but it is of obvious interest to those with Russian heritage.

Along with a set of nesting dolls, this sweet book would be a wonderful gift for a special child. (Novelty board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5159-5

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe.

MEET BABY SHARK

Little ones meet Baby Shark’s extended family and friends in this board-book version of the viral online Pinkfong video.

Sensibly, this offering does not attempt to replicate the song, since readers have likely viewed it multiple times if the 3.5 billion views (and counting) are any indication. Each line of this version is shared on a double-page spread featuring a character: Baby Shark, the rest of the Shark family (Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and Grandpa), and a couple of critters not mentioned in the song (Baby Turtle, a terrified fish named William, and Pinkfong, the brand’s fox logo). The primary text will be meaningful only to readers familiar with the song: “GRANDPA SHARK DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO.” A few words about each character and how they relate to Baby Shark accompany their appearance: “Grandpa Shark is wise and smart. He enjoys sharing his cooking skills with Baby Shark.” Rounded tabs at the top and the right margin of the book allow little fingers to easily turn the pages and readily access their favorite spreads. The two-dimensional gum ball–colored art is true to the source, and fans will not be disappointed. While Mommy and Daddy are color-coded in pink and blue, respectively and stereotypically, the rest of the creatures featured are not assigned colors based on gender.

Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-296589-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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