With its companion, another solid outing for Patricelli’s tot

HAIR

A board book for toddlers who are almost ready for their first haircuts.

Patricelli’s familiar, light-skinned, oval-headed baby, outlined in black with rosy smudges for cheeks, manages to express a full range of emotion—from pride to fear to worry to surprise and back to pride, all while explaining the importance of hair care. Though this baby has just one curly strand of hair (“I have a hair!”), it still needs to be washed, brushed, and decorated, until it grows so long that it must be cut. Adults may chuckle at the baby’s rejection of the dog groomer for that first haircut, but much of the humor will go right over the heads of toddlers. A final double-page spread illustrates “more kinds of hair” with very unbabyish vocabulary—“unibrow,” “Mohawk”—mixed in among words such as “beard,” and “curly.” The baby’s reasonable question, “Will it hurt?” gives voice to the concerns of toddlers heading to the barber for the first time, and the turn of the page assures them, “It did not hurt!” Nighty-Night (published simultaneously) will have more long-term use. That same one-haired baby rhymes its way through a bedtime-avoidance routine complete with a subtle homage to Goodnight Moon and an exuberant “naked dance.”

With its companion, another solid outing for Patricelli’s tot . (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7931-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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