Cat lovers will adore this beguiling board book.

123 CATS


Meow! Meet and count a dozen charismatic kitties.

A captivating selection of frolicking felines participate in familiar, kitty-centric activities, such as napping, snuggling, and snacking. Each double-page spread adds another kitty until No. 12, a tiny cream-colored kitten, closes the party—because he “knows that cats come better by the dozen!” Though the rhyming text is easy enough to read aloud, some stanzas feel safe and a bit stale: “Cat Number Six feels like she’s in heaven / when she’s snuggled up with Cat Number Seven.” However, beautiful illustrations, rendered via sumi ink on watercolors, elevate the verses. Each cat—from a fluffy ginger tabby to a slinky Sphynx—is imbued with a unique look and personality. Cats tugging on toys, using stairs as a playground, or grooming each other brim with charm, and going from Cat No. 1 to a cramped cavalcade of 12 of them easily demonstrates number progression. Although Newman took few risks in the text of this book, she goes the opposite direction in ABC Cats, giving readers delightful, vocabulary-rich lines that beg to be read with panache: “Elegant cat with dignified pose / Finicky cat turns up her nose.” An oversized letter is paired with a demonstrative cat (S, for instance, introduces a wary, eyes-wide “scaredy-cat”), and all 26 entries in the cattery are purr-fectly entrancing.

Cat lovers will adore this beguiling board book. (Board book. 1-6)

Pub Date: April 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0995-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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An unabashed love letter from mother.


From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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


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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