Cute, but a miss nevertheless.

BELLA'S BEST OF ALL

A little mouse compares her things to her mother's, and all but one come up short.

"My purse is good..." begins Bella, looking at her child's handbag, which is purple with a flower on it. "Mommy's is better," she continues after the page turn, and there she is, sitting next to her mother's zebra-striped pocketbook, its contents strewn about: compact, cellphone, wallet, and keys. Likewise, Bella's necklace (macaroni) is good, but her mother's (pearls) is better. Through shoes, paint (Mommy's is nail polish), bubbles, and more, Bella cheerfully considers the superiority of her mother's accoutrements, until she gets to "Mommy's cat" and realizes her toy kitty—"the best of all"—is missing and hunts frantically for it. It's a thin premise for even 32 pages. Readers may well tire of the unspooling comparisons before reaching the lost-kitty crisis. Harper's mixed-media illustrations are bright and friendly, but their handmade look works against her conceit: Mommy's things don't look all that grown-up by comparison with Bella's. She also misses an opportunity by concealing the toy kitty from both readers and Bella while it is "lost" in the folds of Mommy's wedding gown, in which Bella is playing dress-up. While the situation is believable, making bits of is visible would have given children something to look for along with Bella; as it is, they can only sit passively and worry.

Cute, but a miss nevertheless. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-5819-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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