Brief—but surprisingly useful, and adorable to boot.

BUNDLE UP

A cute, purple hippo models winterwear in a variety of colors and makes a snowman an offer it can’t refuse.

This sweet and simple board book engages children on several levels, first by introducing colors and various winter garments, then by encouraging them to review those colors—reading them, if they’re able—and count the number of instances of each. Not bad, given the deceptively simple narrative. The book opens with the unnamed pachyderm protagonist at the window, watching the snow fall. A series of two-panel spreads follows, text on verso, illustration on recto. “Where are my yellow mittens?” asks the hippo with a puzzled look on its face. The question is answered with a turn of the page: “Here are my yellow mittens,” the hippo announces, forefeet snugly fitted inside the protective handgear in question. The rest of the book follows suit, with a green scarf, a red coat, and a blue hat. The charming illustrations of the toddler hippo, buried beneath preposterously thick layerings of scarf on one page or eyes obscured by an impossibly floppy hat on another, should provoke happy giggles. Once bundled, the little hippo runs outside and exchanges all that winter gear with a snowman, making off with its yummy “orange” carrot nose. The final two pages review the colors, spelled out letter by letter, and the names of the pictured items (gloves, scarves, carrots, etc.) and invite readers to count how many times each appears.

Brief—but surprisingly useful, and adorable to boot. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-53411-002-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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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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