A harmless sugar-coated confection that won’t rot baby’s teeth.

COUNT MY CUPCAKES 123

One of the five spongy cupcakes that show up flush with the die-cut front cover of this board book disappears with each page turn.

Using a familiar rhyme pattern, this sweet confection counts down from “5 yummy cupcakes” to “One yummy cupcake.” The smiling pastel cupcakes, each decorated with a different type of sprinkles, are engaged in very un-cake-like behavior. They “shimmy,” “giggle,” “jiggle,” “wiggle,” and “swing” but one by one are ultimately bumped off the page by a milkshake, doughnut, ice cream cone, and cookie. Each stanza is displayed against a different background—a cake shop, a meadow with a smiling rainbow, a carnival complete with rides, and a library. That none of this makes any sense won’t matter at all to little sweethearts just learning to count backward. The rhymes read smoothly, and the rhythm bounces along to a predictable beat. Wan’s palette of pink, mint green, and lemon yellow is tempered by shades of peach, olive green, and purple, along with chocolate-brown outlines. Unlike real cupcakes (or the monkeys readers might be familiar with from a similarly cadenced rhyme), none are devoured. On the final spread all five cupcakes and their sweet-treat friends return, “laughing joyfully” under a mostly pink rainbow that arcs across a sprinkle sky.

A harmless sugar-coated confection that won’t rot baby’s teeth. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-04535-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for...

HELLO LAMB

This simple board book invites little ones to greet baby farm animals (including frog, bunny, and bee) with their corresponding sounds.

The first double-page spread greets readers with a bright yellow smiling sun and the text “Hello, Sun. / Hello, Day. / Wake up, babies. / Time to play!” Each succeeding spread has a distinct, gently patterned background, with very brief text on the verso (“Hello Puppy! / Woof Woof”). Filling up the recto is a vibrant illustration of the baby animal’s face, wide eyed and smiling, outlined in black. The final spread presents the face of a cute baby with chalky brown-gray skin, bright black eyes, and short black hair: “Goo Goo.” Babies and toddlers will enjoy looking at the baby faces, animals and human, and repeating the sounds. A companion book, Goodnight Bear, has a similar pattern of text and illustrations, though the palette is suitably darker. The moon, surprisingly, has its eyes shut, and succeeding spreads depict an owlet, a baby bat, a baby hedgehog, and other familiar nocturnal baby animals, all wide-awake and smiling. The final spread depicts a cute baby with pale skin, blond hair, and closed eyes.

It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for the target audience. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0430-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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