High appeal to fans of Cousins but not revolutionary in the field of books about parent-child love.

LITTLE FISH AND MOMMY

From the Little Fish series

Mommy Fish and Little Fish swim, play, and explore.

Cousins’ rhyming board book is all about mother-child love. Little Fish describes a day with Mommy Fish spent playing peekaboo, exploring a cave while conquering fears, and sharing kisses. Cousins’ trademark style is on full display with the bright, gouache illustrations and hand-lettered text. The illustrations are simple yet bold and inviting. They work especially well on a spread full of brightly swimming fish, alive with color that appears to create texture. Both Little Fish and Mommy Fish wear the same expressions throughout the story, excepting their kiss at the end, conveying a vague sense of happy awe. While it aligns with the simplicity of the illustrations, it doesn’t quite fit with all of Little Fish’s experiences. Little Fish’s gender is not named, enhancing its accessibility to readers. As narrated, many of Little Fish’s observations read as appropriately childlike, such as “My mommy’s orange, just like me. We both have yellow spots” (a statement that may make this book difficult to share in mixed-race and/or adoptive families). The verse works well, save the last page which bends a grammar rule to push along the rhyme. Overall, the pacing and the rhythm are the right amount of bounce for a little one on a lap.

High appeal to fans of Cousins but not revolutionary in the field of books about parent-child love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0612-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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