A sweet welcome for a new baby.

WHERE IS BEAR GOING?

Not just the eponymous Bear, but many friendly animals are headed somewhere special.

Simple, cumulative text translated from Dutch prompts readers to turn the pages as one anthropomorphic animal after another joins Bear on a walk through the forest. Each animal’s arrival on the scene provides a little more information about whom they are going to see. This pattern begins with Bear saying “I’m going to see some sleepy little eyes!” Squirrel mentions “cute little ears”; Fox, “a little pink nose”; Rabbit, a “teensy-weensy mouth”; Cat, “a soft little belly.” It’s Goat who finally fills in the whole picture: They “are going to see Baby Mouse! He was just born!” Diederen’s digital illustrations show the group growing in size and moving through space from left to right with each subsequent double-page spread until they arrive at the conclusion and gather around Baby Mouse, sound asleep in a bed of straw. There are no mouse parents about, which could prompt questions about who takes care of this new baby, but he’s certainly beloved by the crowd of animal friends. This book is all about celebrating a new baby rather than adjusting to its presence; the boldface cues in the text beg caregivers who are reading with children in their laps to point out each body part as they read and cuddle, offering loving tangible reinforcement to the text.

A sweet welcome for a new baby. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-372-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

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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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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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