This multiethnic title is not memorable enough to become a bedtime favorite.

HUSH A BYE, BABY

From the New Books for Newborns series

This third title in the New Books for Newborns series features multiethnic dads getting their infants ready for bed.

Each double-page spread shows a different child with their male parent engaged in bedtime rituals. Four lines of rhyming text, each time starting with the same first line, point out nighttime objects. “Hush a bye, my baby. / Can you hear the owl call? / Time to close your eyes gently / as night starts to fall.” The text is for the most part simple and uses familiar vocabulary, but sometimes scansion falters. Although the hair and skin colors in this book range from pale to rich brown, most of the dad-and-child pairs seem to be racially similar, and no distinctly biracial child is depicted. Illustrations in a soothing pastel palette show a fair-skinned, red-haired dad carrying a tired, fair-skinned, brown-haired baby up the stairs; a dad with brown skin and brown hair holds a similar-looking baby wrapped in a towel; and a dad and child with dark hair and dark skin rock together in a chair, reading a book. Most of the dads are shown to be affectionate but not interactive with their infants. This series is meant for newborns, but the fine-lined, busy, and sometimes conceptually abstract illustrations may be more suitable for toddlers or even young preschoolers.

This multiethnic title is not memorable enough to become a bedtime favorite. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0139-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers.

I LOVE YOU MORE, BABYSAUR

From the Punderland series

A board-book ode to parental love as old as the dinosaurs.

A line of text on the left of each spread reads like a dinosaur-themed valentine that a third grader might choose, with punishingly punny wordplay that incorporates dinosaur-related words. On the facing page a dinosaur pair—a baby and an adult—gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes against whimsical, pastel-hued prehistoric-ish backgrounds. In smaller print, in all caps, at the bottom of the left page is the scientific name for the dinosaur referenced by the text and picture followed by a helpful phonetic pronunciation guide. White-outlined footprints appear next to their names, though the white is sometimes difficult to see against the pastel pages. Ten of the best-known dinosaurs are included. Twisting the dinosaur names to fit the loving sentiments succeeds some of the time but more often results in tortured text, well beyond the understanding of the board book audience. The line accompanying two hugging velociraptors, for instance, is just confusing: “Wrap-TOR arms around me, / with you I’ll always stay.” Others are just plain clumsy: “I-wanna-GUANODON you kisses, / I truly just adore you.” Very young children, even those fascinated by dinosaurs, will not get it. Older dinosaur fans will be put off by the babyish format.

Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2295-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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