Guess how much you’ll be reading this.

YOU ARE MY HAPPY

Parent and child share a day of small adventures and cozy snuggles.

That the two happen to be tortoises is totally beside the point. Die-cut holes and shaped edges turn nearly every page flip into a surprise. Following a parental “Good morning, Baby” to greet the youngling’s “Wake up, wake up, I want to play… / The sun is up, it’s a brand new day!” the two reptiles ramble off to munch on leaves, weather a sudden rain shower, discover a flock of butterflies, climb a hill, watch the moon rise, and, at last, weary little one perched on top, settle down to snooze again. The paper engineering is ingenious. Turning a seemingly arbitrarily shaped page with a special window framing a pink butterfly fills the spread with many jewel-toned insects; even though the tortoises never change position, the scene is completely transformed. Hegarty’s rhymed narrative features lots of tender sentiments—“Wherever you are, wherever you go, / Baby, I’ll always love you so”—while steering clear of any gender references. In Elliott’s peaceful, grassy settings the wanderers’ small smiles and shared glances likewise create a sense of loving intimacy. This is likely to become a victim of its own appeal, being as the paper stock is rather too flimsy to survive much contact with toddler hands. Still, a clear winner for sharing with audiences of one or dozens.

Guess how much you’ll be reading this. (Novelty. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-3509-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers.

I LOVE YOU MORE, BABYSAUR

From the Punderland series

A board-book ode to parental love as old as the dinosaurs.

A line of text on the left of each spread reads like a dinosaur-themed valentine that a third grader might choose, with punishingly punny wordplay that incorporates dinosaur-related words. On the facing page a dinosaur pair—a baby and an adult—gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes against whimsical, pastel-hued prehistoric-ish backgrounds. In smaller print, in all caps, at the bottom of the left page is the scientific name for the dinosaur referenced by the text and picture followed by a helpful phonetic pronunciation guide. White-outlined footprints appear next to their names, though the white is sometimes difficult to see against the pastel pages. Ten of the best-known dinosaurs are included. Twisting the dinosaur names to fit the loving sentiments succeeds some of the time but more often results in tortured text, well beyond the understanding of the board book audience. The line accompanying two hugging velociraptors, for instance, is just confusing: “Wrap-TOR arms around me, / with you I’ll always stay.” Others are just plain clumsy: “I-wanna-GUANODON you kisses, / I truly just adore you.” Very young children, even those fascinated by dinosaurs, will not get it. Older dinosaur fans will be put off by the babyish format.

Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2295-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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