A sweet celebration of a baby, full of Jewish tradition.

BABY'S BLESSINGS

A Jewish family celebrates a baby with traditional symbols and rituals.

The whole family—even the cat—dotes on baby in this board book. Newman’s rhyming text includes Yiddish and Hebrew vocabulary and Jewish traditions: There’s kugel and challah, a mezuzah and a tzedakah box, and, of course, many blessings and much joy. Newman doesn’t spend time defining the various terms for non-Jewish readers, allowing Nakata’s softly textured illustrations to provide some context clues. While the text is certainly very sweet and scans well, the beautiful images are the stars. There are wonderful details: wallpaper adorned with chicks, Zayde’s tortoiseshell glasses, and, delightfully, the cat behaving typically by stuffing itself inside a paper bag. These details bring this family to life. The only point of confusion in the book is that at first, it seems as though the family (all white presenting) is readying the house for a brand-new baby—Bubbe is knitting booties and baking on the first page, for example—but this is no newborn. The baby is shown forward-facing in a baby carrier, sitting up on a lap at the table, and climbing playfully on Zayde. Overall, this book would make a wonderful gift for a Jewish family welcoming a new addition, as it certainly conveys the excitement and joy of having a little one in the house.

A sweet celebration of a baby, full of Jewish tradition. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2214-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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A sweet if uneven expression of parents’ love for babies.

EVERYTHING YOU

A love song to baby.

Rhyming verse expresses animal parents’ love for their little ones and is accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations of animal families rendered in bold colors and rounded forms. The succinct text pairs nicely with the spare art style, which offers uncluttered spreads focused on the parent-and-child interactions. “You’re everything FRESH, / the morning’s first dew,” reads one spread, for example, which is illustrated with a picture of a panda cub standing on top of its prone parent while reaching for a dewdrop falling from a branch. Behind them, a blue background is warmed by a huge, yellow semicircle representing the rising sun. Other animal families occupy other pages, so there’s no sequential storyline to speak of, but the text as a whole is framed by an opening spread depicting crocodile parents waiting for their (very large) egg to hatch, and hatch it does in the closing spread, which reads, “You’re every wish answered, / our hearts, how they grew… / every day countless, / everything you.” While the sentiment here is heartfelt, this use of “every day countless” is one example of several instances when word choices undermine clarity.

A sweet if uneven expression of parents’ love for babies. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30141-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe.

MEET BABY SHARK

Little ones meet Baby Shark’s extended family and friends in this board-book version of the viral online Pinkfong video.

Sensibly, this offering does not attempt to replicate the song, since readers have likely viewed it multiple times if the 3.5 billion views (and counting) are any indication. Each line of this version is shared on a double-page spread featuring a character: Baby Shark, the rest of the Shark family (Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and Grandpa), and a couple of critters not mentioned in the song (Baby Turtle, a terrified fish named William, and Pinkfong, the brand’s fox logo). The primary text will be meaningful only to readers familiar with the song: “GRANDPA SHARK DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO.” A few words about each character and how they relate to Baby Shark accompany their appearance: “Grandpa Shark is wise and smart. He enjoys sharing his cooking skills with Baby Shark.” Rounded tabs at the top and the right margin of the book allow little fingers to easily turn the pages and readily access their favorite spreads. The two-dimensional gum ball–colored art is true to the source, and fans will not be disappointed. While Mommy and Daddy are color-coded in pink and blue, respectively and stereotypically, the rest of the creatures featured are not assigned colors based on gender.

Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-296589-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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