A gift of a picture book that’s at once nostalgic and fresh.

WHEN'S MY BIRTHDAY?

A picture book to celebrate.

Fogliano is at her best here, with text reminiscent of Charlotte Zolotow’s, Margaret Wise Brown’s, and Ruth Krauss’ writing. Her spare, singsong verse pairs perfectly with Robinson’s naïve style expressed in joyful, retro, multimedia collage. The striking, narrow portrait layout recalls Marc Simont’s Caldecott-winning A Tree Is Nice, but this picture book is much more than nice. It’s splendid. Illustrations feature an ever shifting multiracial cast of children, not to mention cakes, balloons, wrapped gifts, and markers of changing seasons, to accompany and expand upon the text. Whimsical details, such as the inclusion of a giraffe and a sloth as party guests in the illustrations, add levity and surprise. The repeated refrain—“when’s my birthday? / where’s my birthday? / how many days until / my birthday?”—lends cohesion to the book despite the lack of a linear textual narrative. One little girl with straight black hair, olive skin, and large dark eyes (who looks a bit like Robinson’s protagonist from The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade, written by Justin Roberts, 2014) appears multiple times, signaling that she is the one anticipating her birthday. The antepenultimate spread shows her losing a fight against sleep as she waits for her birthday to arrive the next morning, and the closing page turns when the big day arrives are “happy happy!” indeed.

A gift of a picture book that’s at once nostalgic and fresh. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-293-4

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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