Not every element of this one is perfect, but for providing mothers with an opportunity to say, “I love you,” to their...

BABY LOVE

This mirror-centered board book puts the focus quite literally on baby and mothers’ love.

A circular cutout going almost all the way through this board book allows the mirror at the back to be seen on each page. The left side of each spread asks what “mommy” animals say to their babies, and the right side answers with a punny phrase. The mirrors, which appear on each recto, are framed by an animal torso so that looking in puts a reader’s face on the body. The puns are cute enough; the “mommy elephant” says, for instance, “I love you a ton!” The book misses an opportunity to introduce readers to new vocabulary words (using “baby elephant” rather than “elephant calf”) and includes some unnecessary redundancies (“baby puppy,” for example). The illustrations echo many of Magsamen’s other, similarly styled books, outlined in dashes and made to look quiltlike. The front cover features an eye-catching but otherwise pointless heart-shaped flap with a heart cutout. Nevertheless, it’s still a sweet question and response that’s sure to suck in moms who are always eager to tell their babies how loved they are. And what better time than with a book in hand?

Not every element of this one is perfect, but for providing mothers with an opportunity to say, “I love you,” to their little ones in a sweet way, it succeeds. (Board book. 6 mos.-1)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-24320-8

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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