This buddy romp is more of a fixed race.

NUGGET AND FANG RACE AROUND THE REEF

Heated competition and the spirit of friendship run neck and neck in this undersea athletic event.

American football coach Vince Lombardi, to whom the (borrowed) sentiment that, “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” is most often attributed, might disapprove of the message of this book. Indeed, there are mixed messages aplenty to be found here. The story takes place on “Reef Day,” an undersea event full of fun, games, and, most importantly, the race around the reef. When Fang the shark exclaims, “I can’t wait to compete in the race around the reef,” best friend Nugget, a minnow, replies, “Count me in!” The pair and three more of the best swimmers around set off to see who’s fastest. When the clown fish quits and the two tuna are caught in a whirlpool, only Nugget and Fang remain. “They were fin and fin—but who would finish first?” This suspenseful buildup is a bit of a cheat, though. “Nugget and Fang knew just what to do. They crossed the finish line the way they did everything else—together!” That sweet message about friendship arguably denies kids some valuable lessons: Skills and abilities vary individually, and gracefully winning or losing is its own art form. On the plus side, the illustrations are colorful, the characters appealing, and sliding and turning elements add a hands-on aspect kids will love.

This buddy romp is more of a fixed race. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-358-04053-8

Page Count: 10

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations.

THIS LITTLE BUNNY

Little bunnies prepare for the definitive bunny holiday.

Bunnies prepare for Easter in this board book. In verse set to the cadence of “This Little Piggy,” bunnies go to market, bake a cake, paint eggs, weave a basket, and do all sorts of other things to get ready for Easter. Rescek’s illustrations take full advantage of spring’s color palette, employing purples, pinks, oranges, and blues and incorporating striped and spotted ovals evoking Easter eggs. Little readers learning about the Easter Bunny for the first time will be delighted to get a peek at the process bunnies may go through to prepare for Easter and how it mirrors activities they perform with their parents.

This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0105-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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