A perfect read-aloud for bedtime.

BROWN BABY LULLABY

A family goes through their evening routine, ending with putting the “sweet brown baby” to bed.

A young black couple plays with their baby on a blanket on a large expanse of grass in front of a white, two-story home. The sun sets and they go inside, where rhyming verses bring the family through playtime with pots to a messy spaghetti dinner in the high chair, followed by a bath, kisses, dancing to Coltrane, a story, and a tuck-in. Spanish words are organically sprinkled throughout the English text—“Look, mi hijo,” and “Vamos, fussy baby”—making this one of few picture books to represent Afro-Latinx families. The mother and father, both dressed in jeans, share the parenting time and duties equally, cooking, cuddling, bathing, and tucking in the baby together. A bright golden glow bathes the indoor scenes in a warm light. Details such as the baby’s one tooth and the one-eye-open peek shared with Papi during grace at dinnertime make Ford’s pictures palpably sweet. Brown’s simple text masters the rhythmic cadence of a classic bedtime book, making this a likely new favorite for many families.

A perfect read-aloud for bedtime. (Picture book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-30752-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A joyful celebration.

FAMILIES BELONG

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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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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