From the To Baby With Love series

Sturdy pages, sweet nursery illustrations, and that grab-able die cut make this an attractive way to remind both mother and...

Pastel colors, simple rhyming text and a layered, heart-shaped cutout to grasp decorate this board book populated by animals.

In turn, a baby giraffe, an elephant, a rabbit, a penguin, a dog, and a teddy bear speak directly to their mamas about day-to-day activities that human children should recognize—at least, one would hope that dancing, splashing, messy play, comforting kisses, snuggling with books, and being tucked in bed by a loving mama are every child’s right and reality. The critters look like stuffed animals—more decorative than real—so it is expected that they talk. Additional activities not mentioned in the verse are included in the illustrations. Finding the tiny mouse hidden on each page provides further opportunity for parent-child interaction. Ladybugs, a butterfly, a bird, a bee, and tiny hearts embellish each page. On the final spread the giraffe, elephant, bunny, dog, and penguin can be spotted in a picture on the teddy bear’s wall. Though the words sound more as though they are voiced by adults than children, the rhymes do flow smoothly.

Sturdy pages, sweet nursery illustrations, and that grab-able die cut make this an attractive way to remind both mother and child of all the ways they can enjoy gentle, loving togetherness. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68010-545-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019


Sadly, the storytelling runs aground.

A little red sleigh has big Christmas dreams.

Although the detailed, full-color art doesn’t anthropomorphize the protagonist (which readers will likely identify as a sled and not a sleigh), a close third-person text affords the object thoughts and feelings while assigning feminine pronouns. “She longed to become Santa’s big red sleigh,” reads an early line establishing the sleigh’s motivation to leave her Christmas-shop home for the North Pole. Other toys discourage her, but she perseveres despite creeping self-doubt. A train and truck help the sleigh along, and when she wishes she were big, fast, and powerful like them, they offer encouragement and counsel patience. When a storm descends after the sleigh strikes out on her own, an unnamed girl playing in the snow brings her to a group of children who all take turns riding the sleigh down a hill. When the girl brings her home, the sleigh is crestfallen she didn’t reach the North Pole. A convoluted happily-ever-after ending shows a note from Santa that thanks the sleigh for giving children joy and invites her to the North Pole next year. “At last she understood what she was meant to do. She would build her life up spreading joy, one child at a time.” Will she leave the girl’s house to be gifted to other children? Will she stay and somehow also reach ever more children? Readers will be left wondering. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 31.8% of actual size.)

Sadly, the storytelling runs aground. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72822-355-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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