A fine addition to the extended family of new-baby books, with a welcome nod to the middle child.

BIG BROTHERS DON'T TAKE NAPS

Little brother Nicholas adores big brother James, who serves as a great role model in this story about a loving, and expanding, family.

Nicholas anticipates the day when he won’t have to take naps, and he sees lots of other positive things about growing up as he witnesses James go to school, read, type on Dad’s computer, etc. James is an ideal older sibling: protective, supportive, patient and kind. Together, they look forward to a “special secret” in June, which readers may well figure out before book’s end. The biggest clue comes with James and Nicholas hunched over a sheet of paper covered in girls’ names scrawled in childish handwriting. Nicholas reports, “…my big brother lets me draw the circle around the one we like best.” Closing endpapers reveal that their chosen name is Grace, where their new baby sister’s name is circled and serves as a satisfying conclusion to this sweet family story. Throughout, Dodd’s digital art employs bold line and vibrant color, rendering playful illustrations that match the text’s tone and recall Lauren Child’s and Ken Wilson-Max’s illustration styles.

A fine addition to the extended family of new-baby books, with a welcome nod to the middle child. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents.

TO THE MOON AND BACK FOR YOU

A poetic ode to women who became mothers despite the challenges they faced.

Whether navigating the roughest seas, crossing the hottest deserts, or pushing through painful brambles, the mothers in this book know their long, hard journeys were worth the effort. There might have been failure and doubt, but now that it’s all over, they know they’d “do it all over again. For you.” First-person narration expresses in metaphor the extraordinary lengths some mothers will go to achieve their dream of holding a child in their arms. Sentimental and flowery, the text is broad enough to apply to the journeys of many mothers—even though the text is gender neutral, the illustrations clearly center the mother’s experience. At times another figure, often male-presenting, is shown alongside a mother. Soft, jewel-toned illustrations peppered with textures depict families with a variety of skin tones and hair colors/textures. The assortment of mothers shown demonstrates the universality of the message, but it also contributes to the absence of a strong visual throughline. In the concluding author’s note, Serhant shares her personal struggle to conceive her child, which included fertility treatments and IVF. Ultimately, although the sentiment is lovely, the message is too abstract to be understood by children and will be better received and appreciated by parents.

Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-17388-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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