It’s docile and harmless, but there are already better barnyard-themed books available to choose.

ON THE FARM

From the You See, I See series

In rhyming verse, explore a farm alongside an enthusiastic toddler.

This tame board book features a toddler and their (extremely youthful) mother admiring scarecrows, playing with ducklings, and spotting various animals and machinery about the farmyard. Books about a day on the farm are an oft-repeated theme for the board-book crew, and there’s no new ground broken here. Digitally rendered, the loose-lined humans and animals have a breezy, caricaturelike style, but they aren’t imbued with much charm. Stick-figure animals populate the backgrounds, and even animals like baby lambs that should be objectively adorable instead resemble shapeless scribbles. While there are scattered perky pages with contrast and color—a page of bright red apples opposite another of golden honey—a vanilla palette of listless, desaturated colors daubed in patches against stark white pages dominates, making this one bland barnyard. Its narrative has an equally dull sound. Ho-hum rhyming reports what mom and baby spot in an overly singsong rhythm that doesn’t flow effortlessly when read aloud: “You see corn in a row / I see a big scarecrow.” Mom and toddler both present white.

It’s docile and harmless, but there are already better barnyard-themed books available to choose. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1447-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for...

HELLO LAMB

This simple board book invites little ones to greet baby farm animals (including frog, bunny, and bee) with their corresponding sounds.

The first double-page spread greets readers with a bright yellow smiling sun and the text “Hello, Sun. / Hello, Day. / Wake up, babies. / Time to play!” Each succeeding spread has a distinct, gently patterned background, with very brief text on the verso (“Hello Puppy! / Woof Woof”). Filling up the recto is a vibrant illustration of the baby animal’s face, wide eyed and smiling, outlined in black. The final spread presents the face of a cute baby with chalky brown-gray skin, bright black eyes, and short black hair: “Goo Goo.” Babies and toddlers will enjoy looking at the baby faces, animals and human, and repeating the sounds. A companion book, Goodnight Bear, has a similar pattern of text and illustrations, though the palette is suitably darker. The moon, surprisingly, has its eyes shut, and succeeding spreads depict an owlet, a baby bat, a baby hedgehog, and other familiar nocturnal baby animals, all wide-awake and smiling. The final spread depicts a cute baby with pale skin, blond hair, and closed eyes.

It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for the target audience. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0430-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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As warm as a hug from Grandma.

I LOVE YOU, GRANDMA

Grandma is the star in dozens of picture books for older children, but seldom is the special bond between a toddler and their grandmother portrayed in a book for very young children.

This sweet, but not saccharine, board book fills that gap. Thankfully, this grandma does not have Alzheimer’s and is not dying. She simply delights in spending time with her cherished grandchild. The narrator, a charming bear cub, is not identified as male or female, which makes it easy for both girls and boys to insert themselves in the story. Each of the six rhyming couplets is spread across double-page spreads: “I love the fun we have each day, / And all the funny things you say.” Even in its small board-book trim size, there is still plenty of room for the winsome watercolors to highlight the familiar yet memorable rituals of a day spent with a loving and patient grandma. Note: “Rory Tyger” is the collective pseudonym for the British artistic team of Richard Greaves, Tracey Simmons, and Gabrielle Murphy. Their illustrations were originally used in Good Night, Sleep Tight by Claire Freedman (2003). In that story, the little bear is resisting bedtime. This reworking is a gentle and conflict-free ode to the special love between little bear and a doting grandma.

As warm as a hug from Grandma. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68010-524-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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