This late-night roughhousing romp speaks volumes about a father's love.

MY DAD IS THE BEST PLAYGROUND

Whether through horseplay or a kiss, this hip dad physically expresses his affection.

He flings open his children's bedroom door, and the pajama-clad youngsters race to him with open arms. Daddy, dressed in jeans and a tie, throws his whole body into the play; he swings his children by the hands and uses his stomach as monkey bars. It's no wonder this son and daughter repeatedly express heartfelt adoration. “My dad is the best, / my favorite playground.” High-energy antics draw to a calming close; little arms drape over Daddy's back as he carries them to bed. Refreshingly, this dad is the sole caregiver in each scene, modulating from exuberance to somnolence with expertise. “He's as comforting as a snuggle / or a story that we've read.” He's also apparently relaxed in his child-rearing; a scribbled drawing on the wall (and lone crayon on the floor) receives no comment. Hazy, creamy backgrounds keep the emphasis on the personal interactions instead of the impersonal decor.

This late-night roughhousing romp speaks volumes about a father's love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-93090-3

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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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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Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love.

LEO LOVES DADDY

A fun-loving daddy’s dedication is apparent in this slice-of-life board book.

Leo, a brown-skinned boy with tight curls, full lips, and a broad nose, delights in playing with Daddy, who has equally clearly Black features. Leo wakes up to Daddy tickling his tummy. Then this superinvolved father fixes pancakes, dances, takes Leo on a bike ride, and tends to Leo’s scraped knee. Together they build with blocks, take a bath, and snuggle with a book before bed. Companion title Leo Loves Mommy follows a similar trajectory through the day. Leo builds a blanket fort with couch cushions, practices yoga, and paints with his mother, who also presents Black. After a bike ride, mommy’s lunch “is so flashy”: celery and carrot sticks turned into edible critters with fruit and nuts. The loving devotion of both parents is tangible and genuine, sweet but not cloying. Simple two-line sentences with unobtrusive rhymes across spreads provide descriptions of the activities and add vocabulary. Each spread illustrates one event against a clear solid color background, free of distracting decoration. Together they complete a full picture of a busy toddler’s day and his loving relationship with each parent.

Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-241-2

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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