A quick and cozy read-aloud perfect for bonding between caregivers and their children.

KISSES!

Everybody loves kissing their babies!

Whether it is a tiny mouse father giving a tiny mouse child a peck on the nose or a gigantic mother elephant kissing her baby by touching trunks, every animal parent featured in this book loves his or her child. On the final page, which features an illustration of a female-presenting human parent kissing a baby, the voice shifts to second person, prompting the adult reading to shower the child listening with affection. The book itself is well designed: Each sturdy page is cut into the shape of a different animal, making it fun and easy for small fingers to manipulate, and inviting children to explore the outline and texture of each creature featured in the narrative. Aracil’s soft, smudgy illustrations, rendered in pastel colors, are soothing and cozy, infusing the simple, clean text with a sense of warmth that enhances the read-aloud experience. Laudably, none of the babies are gendered, allowing the readers flexibility in the characters’ gender assignments and giving children the chance to identify with them no matter what their identity. Unfortunately, the same is not true of the parent animals: The author assigns genders via name (mama, papa) and/or pronoun to all of the parents, thereby excluding families that may have different structures and adult caregivers that might have more complex gender identities than what’s depicted on the page. Despite this shortcoming, it remains a delightful, visually interesting read.

A quick and cozy read-aloud perfect for bonding between caregivers and their children. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 979-1-02760-702-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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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Wonderful, indeed

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  • New York Times Bestseller

THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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