Cute, harmless, and unlikely to achieve classic status.

I BELIEVE IN BUNNYCORNS

Copious amounts of glitter and rainbows and a die-cut rainbow flower add a bit of interest to this celebration of the titular one-horned bunnies.

With simple, rhyming text and high-contrast, neon illustrations, this book is like cotton candy for the eyes and ears. Like that sugary confection, it’s sweet—arguably, too much so. “We’re going on a bunny hunt / to find the bunnycorns. / We follow trails of sparkle dust / and look for shiny horns! // We’ll find them in the places / where candy carrots grow. / I CAN SEE A BUNNYCORN! / Let’s go and say hello!” As the claims about the bunnycorns grow more extravagant, the artwork explodes in garish bursts of color. As for the aforementioned die-cut flower, it starts as a large cutout on the front cover of the book, becoming progressively smaller through each successive page, till it ends as a glittery, yellow single flower on the second-to-last double-page spread. In the denouement that follows, the narrative voice breaks the literary fourth wall: “If you believe in bunnycorns, / then they’ll believe in you. / ’Cause bunnycorns are special, / and baby, YOU are too!” The use of bunnies, of course, constitutes a radical departure from author McLean and illustrator Le Tandé’s 2019 opus, I Love My Llamacorn.

Cute, harmless, and unlikely to achieve classic status. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12643-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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