Blandly pleasant; entirely skippable.

PRAYERS FOR LITTLE HEARTS

Precious, nursery-style animals and plants decorate the pages of five classic religious adages.

In this hodgepodge collection, Magsamen illustrates childhood prayers with her traditional faux quilting style, featuring candy-colored pastel tones, too-sentimental cartoon animals, and grinning suns, moons, and flowers. There’s a strong heart theme throughout, with a heart-shaped nose on a lamb and similarly shaped birds’ wings. It’s cute but almost entirely generic. Some of the traditional sayings, such as “God made the sun,” are re-created verbatim; others are expanded or altered, as when “I see the moon and the moon sees me” receives additional lines about kissing “nighty-night.” None of these additions adds much to the original, and most have a meter that sounds just a little off. The poems are written in thin, hand-written white letters that don’t always have enough contrast to be seen easily against the background, and the occasional colorfully highlighted and patterned words cramp the page. The simultaneously publishing ’Twas the Night Before Christmas! is purely derivative, with alterations that drastically truncate and remove all the character of the original poem. It reads aloud poorly, particularly to ears accustomed to the original. Both share a tall, narrow trim size that is somewhat unwieldy to hold with a child in the lap.

Blandly pleasant; entirely skippable. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35981-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Satisfactory text; irresistibly delightful illustrations.

GOD BLESS YOU, LITTLE ONE

A bedtime-prayer board book features a family of badgers.

Speaking in a gentle rhyme, the badgers ask for God’s blessings for family and friends and offer gratitude for the gifts of the natural world. Temple’s stanzas have a lullaby lilt to them, with a cadence that remains consistent throughout. With the exception of the first and last stanzas, which are voiced by the older badgers, the little badger relates the text. The accompanying images show the little badger remembering how much there is to be thankful for, from loved ones like grandparents to the moon and stars. It’s Braun’s illustrations that truly speak to little readers. The badger family is adorable; the softness and simplicity of their features are charming. The same is true of the other woodland creatures and animals. A wintry scene stands out from the rest thanks to the feelings of frostiness and wonder it evokes. There’s the little badger wrapped in a red scarf, nose to the sky, and a tiny mouse leaning on a walking stick, the soft snow floating down around them. Other details, like a lemonade bottle tucked in a picnic basket and a toy boat with a leaf sail, add depth and interest to the scenes.

Satisfactory text; irresistibly delightful illustrations. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-632-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Undeniably sweet even if neither theme nor treatment is particularly new.

MY ARMS WILL HOLD YOU TIGHT

A rhyming board book about the love between a parent and child.

As the title suggests, this offering is all about the ways that caregivers love, protect, care for, and cherish their children. Each turn of the page reveals a new adult-child animal pair with its own rhyming stanza. The text explores many facets of parental love—celebrating it not just when things are sunny, but also on stormy days and through sadness. One particularly sweet rhyme relates, “I’ll hold you when sadness / and tears fill your eyes. / My arms will be there / to catch all your cries.” Most of the text includes simple rhymes (sky/fly and sand/hand for example), and none are forced or read aloud awkwardly. The illustrations include anthropomorphized animals in mostly bright pastels with simple smiling expressions. Much like the text, they’re cute enough, but there’s not a lot of variation in style. The bat pup wrapped up in its parent’s wings is an especially darling pair; they do indeed look “all cozy and snug.” Glancing references to “prayers” and “God” give the text a slight religious edge, though the book is otherwise secular. Given that this is designed to be shared with a lap-sitting child, it’s a bit lengthy.

Undeniably sweet even if neither theme nor treatment is particularly new. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4964-4622-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Tyndale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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