Maybe the story needed a little bit more growth in order to deliver a satisfying ending.

LITTLE BEAR WANTS TO GROW

A little cub learns that there’s just no way to speed up growing up.

Little Bear doesn’t heed his parents’ advice to “Be patient” about growing up and instead decides to ask others for help. Neighbor Bear tells him to eat ice cream, Grandma Bear advises lemonade, Uncle Bear advocates bicycling, and Auntie Bear suggests painting. (Little Bear and his parents are polar bears, as are Uncle and Grandma Bear; Neighbor Bear and Auntie Bear have brown fur.) Alas, nothing helps him grow in size, though perhaps the underlying message is that pleasurable experiences make the journey to growing up go by more quickly? Otherwise readers may feel that these grown-up bears are stringing the earnest little cub along with their nonsensical, playful advice. At the book’s end the crestfallen, still-small cub returns to his parents, and they reassure him that he will “grow a little but every day. Just like that!” without doing anything special. A closing spread depicts the trio in a bear hug but misses an opportunity to show the little cub in the future all grown up or even just a bit bigger as evidence to reassure similarly distressed readers. The pastel-hued illustrations are equally insubstantial, though children will get some chuckles at the sight of Little Bear on the pot after many glasses of lemonade.

Maybe the story needed a little bit more growth in order to deliver a satisfying ending. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60537-408-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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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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