A bit cringey, but who doesn’t love finger puppets? (Board book. 6 mos.-2)


This heart-shaped book comes with a star-shaped finger puppet.

There exists a subgenre of children’s books so exceedingly gushy and effusive it seems clear the text was written for starry-eyed adults rather than for the children to whom they read the books. This die-cut, valentine-shaped board book is a case in point. For the most part, it reads like a mawkish love letter from caregiver to child, heaping on the hyperbole to a degree that feels almost unctuous. To be fair, of course, parenthood is one of the few human experiences so profound that those new to the role might find themselves in total agreement with the sentiments somewhat cloyingly expressed herein: “Twinkle, twinkle, little one; / your precious life has just begun. // You fill the world with hope and light, // my special child you shine so bright.” Perhaps it’s best that this book is intended for an audience too young to fully grasp its meaning; that sort of praise could lead to some seriously swelled heads. Fortunately, the highfalutin doggerel is undercut by the emergence of a smiling, yellow, star-shaped finger puppet from a hole in the center of the book; wagging this star at youngsters while reading aloud makes the experience just silly enough to counteract the treacle. The text ends on a down-to-earth note: “Twinkle, twinkle, you’re my star; // I love you just the way you are!” Bright colors and hearts abound.

A bit cringey, but who doesn’t love finger puppets? (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-24312-3

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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