COUNTING KISSES

A tired tot is bundled off to bed with a bevy of smooches from family members in this comforting countdown tale. In joy-filled free verse, Katz (The Colors of Us, 1999, etc.) introduces readers to the numbers ten through one, beginning with ten kisses for ten little toes and concluding with a final salute on one snoozy noggin. To further reinforce the number introduced, tiny pink hearts in the appropriate amount accompany each verse, along with the numeral, highlighted in boldly colored, oversized text. Katz focuses on the plethora of precious attributes that make babies, even cranky and tired ones, so lovable. By highlighting everything from button noses to delicate ears, she provides young readers with an opportunity to learn and identify various parts of their own anatomies. The full-bleed illustrations are presented in a kaleidoscopic swirl of vibrant color combinations. Every page is awash in color, with even the text-only pages steeped in a rainbow selection of colors, from soft periwinkle to sunshine yellow. The combination of colored pencils, gouache, and collage work adds dimension to the illustrations, while intriguing perspectives further the visual impact. The inviting illustrations, portraying cozy images of familial affection, deftly convey the emotional tenor of the tale. As the kissing fest proceeds, with even the family pets contributing a few, the baby’s expression evolves from wailing to merry, eventually settling down to peaceful slumber. A winsome tale perfect for cuddle time with a beloved little one. (Picture book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83470-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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