Expect oohs and aahs when planted at a baby shower.

I HAVE A LITTLE SEEDLING

From the New Books for Newborns series

Newborns and toddlers will miss this gentle board book’s subtleties, but new moms will get the message: Babies grow all too quickly.

Meister mimics the rhythm and rhyme of the old nursery song about catkins, “I Have a Little Pussy,” to describe a seedling’s growth. Consistent syllable counts and unforced rhymes make the four-line stanzas read smoothly. Meanwhile the illustrations show both a seedling and a baby growing up. A patient gray pussycat on each spread observes their progress and echoes the pussy willows of the origin rhyme. The story starts on the cover. A mom cuddling a blanket-wrapped baby sits in a swing hung from a mature tree. Over the course of five verses spread over 14 pages, the titular seedling is planted, tended, and grows into a sapling as the baby goes from sleeping newborn to preschool child reading independently under that sapling. In between are playful images of the growing baby pulling the cat’s tail, toddling in a rainstorm, “helping” pull weeds near the seedling, and pushing the cat in a cart. Elements in the illustrations suggest growth and seasonal changes. The baby’s onesie has tiny leaves; the toddler’s shorts have slightly larger leaves; the child’s book cover and T-shirt are decorated with trees. The final illustration of the mother pushing the child in the swing under the blooming tree brings the story full circle. Both mother and child have pale skin.

Expect oohs and aahs when planted at a baby shower. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1002-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love.

LEO LOVES DADDY

A fun-loving daddy’s dedication is apparent in this slice-of-life board book.

Leo, a brown-skinned boy with tight curls, full lips, and a broad nose, delights in playing with Daddy, who has equally clearly Black features. Leo wakes up to Daddy tickling his tummy. Then this superinvolved father fixes pancakes, dances, takes Leo on a bike ride, and tends to Leo’s scraped knee. Together they build with blocks, take a bath, and snuggle with a book before bed. Companion title Leo Loves Mommy follows a similar trajectory through the day. Leo builds a blanket fort with couch cushions, practices yoga, and paints with his mother, who also presents Black. After a bike ride, mommy’s lunch “is so flashy”: celery and carrot sticks turned into edible critters with fruit and nuts. The loving devotion of both parents is tangible and genuine, sweet but not cloying. Simple two-line sentences with unobtrusive rhymes across spreads provide descriptions of the activities and add vocabulary. Each spread illustrates one event against a clear solid color background, free of distracting decoration. Together they complete a full picture of a busy toddler’s day and his loving relationship with each parent.

Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-241-2

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A sweet if uneven expression of parents’ love for babies.

EVERYTHING YOU

A love song to baby.

Rhyming verse expresses animal parents’ love for their little ones and is accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations of animal families rendered in bold colors and rounded forms. The succinct text pairs nicely with the spare art style, which offers uncluttered spreads focused on the parent-and-child interactions. “You’re everything FRESH, / the morning’s first dew,” reads one spread, for example, which is illustrated with a picture of a panda cub standing on top of its prone parent while reaching for a dewdrop falling from a branch. Behind them, a blue background is warmed by a huge, yellow semicircle representing the rising sun. Other animal families occupy other pages, so there’s no sequential storyline to speak of, but the text as a whole is framed by an opening spread depicting crocodile parents waiting for their (very large) egg to hatch, and hatch it does in the closing spread, which reads, “You’re every wish answered, / our hearts, how they grew… / every day countless, / everything you.” While the sentiment here is heartfelt, this use of “every day countless” is one example of several instances when word choices undermine clarity.

A sweet if uneven expression of parents’ love for babies. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30141-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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