A split-page board book allows readers to mix and match the upper bodies and legs of animal daddies, a skeleton father and a human dad.

The offspring of the fathers are shown nearby looking adoringly up to their progenitors. On one page, a banjo-playing papa frog is surrounded by tadpoles at his feet, and on another, a dad dachshund carries one pup in his arms and two more in a backpack. The word “Daddy” appears above each of the critters’ heads, and the lower portion of the page features a playful one-liner that often rhymes with the caption preceding it: “Daddy beary legs / Daddy scary legs.” The bifurcated pages allow readers to mix up the legs and torsos, and a solid color background aids youngsters who prefer to match instead. Young readers may find the first image labeled “Daddy wrong legs” a little frustrating, since neither the rooster top nor the alligator (or crocodile?) legs have a match. Laden’s intensely colored gouache paintings using thick, black lines are droll and playful. Budding zoologists should note that this book does not strive for realism but playfulness, at which it succeeds neatly. The split binding may pose problems for library circulation, but it looks sturdy enough for home use.

Good, silly fun. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1528-3

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.


A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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