Cuddle up to share these hugs and kisses.

I LOVE HUGS AND KISSES

From the Heart-Felt series

This cheerful board book is a sugary paean to love.

A smiling panda with black felt arms and ears on the cover looks ready for a hug. Sadly, that is the only tactile element. Within, rhyming text dances across each page using a typeface designed to look handwritten. Brightly colored parent-and-child animal pairs illustrate each verse, with stitching outlining key features. The lines alternate between “Hug me when…” and “Kiss me when…,” with the critical verb sweetly decorated. Situations described are common experiences for toddlers. A baby bird in a pram is clearly taking a walk, while on the opposite page two ducks “quack and talk.” Unfortunately, rhyming “zoo” with “boo-boo” requires an extra syllable, which throws off the rhyme scheme for that stanza. The final double-page spread shows only one of each animal, each with a heart-shaped “kiss” stitched on its cheek. The text spans both pages, which could confuse readers who have learned to anticipate the story's pattern. That's probably OK, since the rhyme is intact: “Hugs and Kisses everywhere we go— / because I love, love, love you so!” Saying it three times may be a bit much, but most tots enjoy hearing they are loved.

Cuddle up to share these hugs and kisses. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-92796-3

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2016

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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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