Lovely, sweet, and warmly offbeat.


From the Hazy Dell Love & Nurture Books series

Playful cryptids model unconditional love and acceptance for the board-book set.

Gorgeous colors, tones, and textures combine with an off-kilter cast and conceit to lend charm to what could easily feel maudlin. Rhymed text provides a vehicle for caregivers to deliver a warm and reassuring message of unconditional love to their charges. The verse is delivered in a style that borders on Hallmark-lite, but despite this—or perhaps because of it—author Barks and illustrator Bletsis wring ironic charm by pairing the unabashed sentiment with playful paranormal hijinks. The result feels improbably special, offering an opportunity to bask in the bond between caregiver and child. Hearing the titular phrase, “I believe in you,” repeated between parent and child sea serpents as they swim around Loch Ness is endearing and clever. The message doesn’t feel trite. Golden skies, rolling hills, and blue waters reflecting the bright yellow hues of the sun lend an air of magic to Nessie’s home. The text is not Shakespeare, but the message is clear: “From the bright golden dawn // to your cute bedtime yawn, / I believe in you. // Some people may doubt, / but we’ll tune them out. // And I’ll believe in you. // All the friends that you make, / will know you’re not fake. // They’ll believe in you.” The accompanying illustrations of wee Nessie playing joyfully with Bigfoot, a ghost, an ET, and a winged unicorn are clinchers.

Lovely, sweet, and warmly offbeat. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-948931-17-5

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Hazy Dell Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.


From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young...


This title previously published in the U.K. takes a cozy look at all kinds of kisses.

Walsh’s rhyming text is full of cutesy rhythms: “Kisses on noses, kisses on toes-es. Sudden kisses when you least supposes.” Sometimes the phrasing stumbles: “Who likes to kiss? I do! I do! Even the shy do. Why not try, too?” But toddlers and young preschoolers will probably not mind. They will be too engaged in spotting the lively penguin on each spread and too charmed by Abbot’s winsome illustrations that fittingly extend the wording in the story. Patient dogs queue up for a smooch from a frog prince, cool blue “ ’normous elephants” contrast strikingly with bright red “little tiny ants” and a bewildered monkey endures a smattering of lipstick kisses. Be the kiss small or tall, one to start or end the day, young readers are reminded that “the very best kiss… / is a kiss from you!” Perhaps no big surprise but comforting nonetheless.

Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young tyke or sharing with a gathering for storytime.     (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2769-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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