Kirkus Reviews QR Code
TEACH ME TO LOVE by Denise Brennan-Nelson


by Denise Brennan-Nelson ; photographed by Denise Brennan-Nelson

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-58536-858-7
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

The color photos of 11 different baby animals will produce many oohs and aahs, while the singsong rhymes teach various attributes.

The opening spread depicts a mother bear and two cubs. “I will learn. / Teach me, okay? / Show me, show me, / show me the way!” A monkey demonstrates swinging and climbing; a pair of heavy-lidded chicks presumably respond to a lesson in sleeping. Some of the “lessons” pair logically with the animals, but others do not: There are bunnies with “hop” and a cheetah with “run” but also a kitten with “smile.” The photo of a mother and baby giraffe is glossed with a no-doubt rhyme-induced injunction to “[t]each me how / to be a friend. / Show me how / to stretch and bend.” The photo of a white dog and a black dog carrying a stick together makes the point of sharing. Kids will enjoy the animal photos, particularly those of babies, but it’s unfortunate that they are not identified anywhere. Even very young children love to point and repeat a name, but without it in the rhyme or on the page or even the backmatter, that element is missing.

While the book is well-intentioned, the “teach me” moments are both forced and too sweet for most palates.

(Picture book. 3-5)