EVERYBODY GOES NIGHTY-NIGHT

From the Heart-Felt series

Cute animals are reassured and tucked into bed under lift-the-flap blankets.

Part of the Heart-Felt series, this sugary bedtime tale shows a series of anthropomorphic animals bedding down for the night. The animals are flat and cartoonish, all bright colors and patterns, each outlined with faux hand-stitching, as though they have been quilted onto the page. Each spread shows the head or ears of an animal peeking over the “blanket” flap on recto. Very young toddlers might enjoy using these clues to guess who is underneath, but since the text often immediately announces the answer, that game loses some of its punch. What’s hiding under the flaps isn’t especially scintillating either. On some pages, it’s a mild surprise to find not just one, but several animals snuggled underneath, but most flap turns simply reveal legs. A red felt lift-the-flap “blanket” on the cover is unlikely to rip but isn’t exactly the cuddliest material. Loopy, casually handwritten text sprawls across the versos, with occasional highlighted words composed of decorated multicolored letters. The rhyming text is as saccharine as the illustrations, with multiple “we love you” declarations. Strangely, the last page features an energetic line about parents needing sleep so they can wake up ready to tickle, a choice that counteracts much of the previously gentle language intended to induce sleep.

Cute but cloying. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-92799-4

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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