A simple book with interesting possibilities for repeated reading, especially likely to hold the attention of both babies...

BABY ANIMALS DAY & NIGHT

As she did in Baby Animals Spots & Stripes (2014) and Baby Animals Black & White (1998), Tildes uses detailed black-and-white illustrations to catch infants’ eyes, here highlighting four unusual animals.

At the same time she subtly and wordlessly imparts some pretty sophisticated scientific concepts. Tildes’ illustrations alternate between the diurnal chipmunk and otter and the nocturnal bobcat and skunk. Each animal is shown twice, awake and asleep on opposite pages, with only the black or white background hinting at the time of day when that animal is active. Although each animal is named, the more complex concepts are left for adult reading partners, or perhaps older siblings, to point out or ignore depending on the interest, age, and attention of their babies. This is an age-appropriate choice, but it relies on adults to supply the scientific vocabulary. A toy chipmunk and otter-, bobcat- and skunk-decorated clothing reprise the same animals in the final, full-color pair of images of a charming human baby. The purple-clad child is appropriately androgynous and also ethnically ambiguous, though this curly-haired darling is very pale.

A simple book with interesting possibilities for repeated reading, especially likely to hold the attention of both babies and their preschool-age siblings. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58089-609-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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 ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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