These cutesy board books come across as just more saccharine fluff.

I'M WILD ABOUT YOU!

From the Heart-Felt series

Sweet exclamations of unconditional love and admiration are the order of the day here.

Pattern sentences on five double-page spreads start the same way: “I love the way you....” On each page the sentence is completed using animal behavior as a metaphor. In Magsamen's persistently cheerful world, children monkeying around, stomping, and roaring are always appreciated, but toddlers may find that their own parents don’t always follow the book when they stomp and roar. The cartoonish animals modeled on hand-stitched stuffed animals make it clear that this is a fantasy world. Bright backgrounds make the childlike printed text stand out. On each spread the key verb is highlighted by a patchwork design. The pictures are not always clear; “monkey around” is illustrated by swinging monkeys, but a zebra beneath them figures more prominently. Illustrating penguins waddling is also tough. Itsy-Bitsy I Love You, published simultaneously, uses the same design features to rewrite the classic nursery song as a sappy ode to love, kisses, hugs, and cuddles. Felt features on the covers of both titles are tactile extras that may attract fingers but add nothing to the value or message.

These cutesy board books come across as just more saccharine fluff. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-46839-8

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love.

LEO LOVES DADDY

A fun-loving daddy’s dedication is apparent in this slice-of-life board book.

Leo, a brown-skinned boy with tight curls, full lips, and a broad nose, delights in playing with Daddy, who has equally clearly Black features. Leo wakes up to Daddy tickling his tummy. Then this superinvolved father fixes pancakes, dances, takes Leo on a bike ride, and tends to Leo’s scraped knee. Together they build with blocks, take a bath, and snuggle with a book before bed. Companion title Leo Loves Mommy follows a similar trajectory through the day. Leo builds a blanket fort with couch cushions, practices yoga, and paints with his mother, who also presents Black. After a bike ride, mommy’s lunch “is so flashy”: celery and carrot sticks turned into edible critters with fruit and nuts. The loving devotion of both parents is tangible and genuine, sweet but not cloying. Simple two-line sentences with unobtrusive rhymes across spreads provide descriptions of the activities and add vocabulary. Each spread illustrates one event against a clear solid color background, free of distracting decoration. Together they complete a full picture of a busy toddler’s day and his loving relationship with each parent.

Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-241-2

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for...

HELLO LAMB

This simple board book invites little ones to greet baby farm animals (including frog, bunny, and bee) with their corresponding sounds.

The first double-page spread greets readers with a bright yellow smiling sun and the text “Hello, Sun. / Hello, Day. / Wake up, babies. / Time to play!” Each succeeding spread has a distinct, gently patterned background, with very brief text on the verso (“Hello Puppy! / Woof Woof”). Filling up the recto is a vibrant illustration of the baby animal’s face, wide eyed and smiling, outlined in black. The final spread presents the face of a cute baby with chalky brown-gray skin, bright black eyes, and short black hair: “Goo Goo.” Babies and toddlers will enjoy looking at the baby faces, animals and human, and repeating the sounds. A companion book, Goodnight Bear, has a similar pattern of text and illustrations, though the palette is suitably darker. The moon, surprisingly, has its eyes shut, and succeeding spreads depict an owlet, a baby bat, a baby hedgehog, and other familiar nocturnal baby animals, all wide-awake and smiling. The final spread depicts a cute baby with pale skin, blond hair, and closed eyes.

It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for the target audience. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0430-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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