Lap-sit readers will eagerly snuggle up for their own cuddles.

KITTY'S CUDDLES

From the Jane Cabrera's Story Time series

A boisterous kitty playfully debates the merits of hugging various critters before deciding hugging baby brother is the best cuddle of all.

Exuberantly rendered in Cabrera’s signature bold, painterly style, the vibrantly colored full-bleed animals look almost touchable while bright, patterned backgrounds saturated with color make the hugging duos pop off the page. As the big-eyed tan-and-white kitten tries to determine a “favorite friend to cuddle,” the fuzzy tot meets and is enveloped by animals as varied as a luxuriously patterned peacock, an oversized teddy bear, and even a coral-colored octopus with safely rounded, drifting tentacles. Using lighthearted language sure to appeal to little ones, the kitten reflects on what makes each hug special: A small mouse has a “teeny-weeny cuddle” and an elephant, “a big strong” one while even potentially off-putting creatures like a “spiky” porcupine or “scaly” armadillo have reassuring (if leprous, for the latter) cuddles. It’s gratifying to see the little kitty’s progress from seeking cuddles to being large and in charge when readers meet the new baby brother on the last page. Resized from Cabrera’s 2007 picture book of the same name, this is one of those rare board-book adaptations that works well thanks to her brief, toddler-friendly text and emphatic illustration style.

Lap-sit readers will eagerly snuggle up for their own cuddles. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4471-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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