Faux pas aside, it’s a sweet celebration of leaving baby days behind.

NOW I'M BIG!

There’s a lot to like in this book about all things “big kid.”

The first-person voice seamlessly shifts from one spread to another, attributing itself to characters of different races and genders. A pattern emerges through page design that shows a baby on the verso with text starting “When I was a baby…” and an older child on the recto with text reading “NOW I’M BIG” and expounding on how he or she can now do things that were impossible during babyhood. Katz’s signature, colorful, stylized characters rendered in watercolor and gouache romp through the pages, culminating with a little girl reveling in her new status as big sister to the new baby in her family. Earlier, one scene showing a baby in a playpen (who grows up to run around the park with friends) might seem a bit dated given rising concerns about the safety of such baby gear, but the real safety no-no comes at book’s end when the aforementioned big sister jumps on her bed while holding the tiny new baby by the arms. It’s a joyful scene, to be sure, but the sight of a teddy bear falling off the bed as the sisters spring up and down bespeaks a doubtlessly unintended sense of peril in this otherwise gentle book.

Faux pas aside, it’s a sweet celebration of leaving baby days behind. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4169-3547-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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The soft cadence of the rhyming verses and the joyous pictures of the elephants will make this a bedtime favorite

THIS IS OUR BABY, BORN TODAY

When a baby elephant is born, “wrinkled and gray,” not just the herd, but the whole world rejoices, from morning to night.

From the proud Mama to the grand Aunts, from the “fertile and firm” Earth to the ancient Banyan tree, everyone and everything around the new baby elephant joins in celebration and care for the Baby “who warms the hearts of the world today.” Glowing with warm golds and greens and shadowed with deep blues and greens, the gorgeous artwork lushly illuminates the day of an elephant’s birth as it is cared for by its family and surroundings. The expressions on the elephant faces are sheer joy to behold; the elephant smiles are realistic and yet radiate affection. Seemingly simple, this gentle rhyming story works on two levels: the playfulness of the young elephant and its friends ensure that young children will be able to see themselves in the story, and given the depiction of the natural scenes, at least some young readers will become fascinated with the lives of elephants as well. An author’s note at the end provides background from the Indian-American author’s own life and also draws attention to the present-day need to protect elephants from poaching and the loss of habitat.

The soft cadence of the rhyming verses and the joyous pictures of the elephants will make this a bedtime favorite . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16684-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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