This has a bit of the feel of an extended greeting card and should appeal to caregivers who want to maximize snuggles.

LOVE YOU, BABY!

From the To Baby With Love series

A love letter to animal babies.

Unseen animal parents (except for an adult giraffe and calf on the final pages) share what they love about their little ones in five rhyming couplets that are parceled out, one per double-page spread. The baby beasts cavort through the pages engaging in toddlerlike behavior—playing at the beach, splashing in puddles, and messing about with paints and brushes—in full-bleed scenes, likely created on a computer, that have a mock-homespun look. A penguin chick, a baby mouse, and an elephant calf, among others, are depicted in rounded forms embellished with faux stitch work, à la the artist Sandra Magsamen; the subtle, fabriclike patterns associate them with stuffed animals. Each page, including the cover, has a heart-shaped die-cut hole in ever decreasing sizes for a layered look, culminating on the final page with a sparkly, red heart. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Baby, the companion title in this aptly named series, To Baby, with Love, features the same cast of characters. The focus is on bedtime routines, and here, a star, appropriately enough, is the featured die-cut element.

This has a bit of the feel of an extended greeting card and should appeal to caregivers who want to maximize snuggles. (Board book. 6-18 mos.)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-6801-0517-9

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

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

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. 19, 2019

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As insubstantial as hot air.

THE WORLD NEEDS WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE

A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

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