A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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GETTING READY

Readers are invited to follow a morning routine, from getting up all the way to leaving the house.

On the cover a pair of human feet look ready to go into a pair of shiny red boots, but as readers open the book it will not be clear if the main character is human or of the teddy-bear variety. Regardless, this touch-and-feel book starts off by having readers touch the soft furry Teddy. This is just the beginning of a series of confusing discrepancies between text and illustrations. The book seems to ask children to help the main character perform a series of activities, such as getting dressed, holding the handles of a sippy cup, brushing teeth, or pushing and pulling the shiny red boots on. Yet in reality all readers can do is touch and feel the different textures. The only true interactivity is pulling the bed covers back, zipping up a jacket, and opening the door at the end of the book. It is doubtful children will find the zipper easy to operate. An easy-to-miss trail of raised dots starts at the bed and runs along every page until it ends at the beginning of a glittery yellow path on the other side of the front door.

Misses the mark. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84643-886-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Just doggone blah.

DOGS, DOGS!

There's neither bark nor bite to be found in this brief ode to a toddler favorite.

Uninspired rhymes describe individual dogs' physical appearance (shaggy, little, etc.) or their character (including stubborn, lazy or sad). Awkward phrases are expressed with a forced exuberance, unlikely to inspire any potential canine enthusiasts. “Big dog, big dog, what a giant you are. / You're almost as big as a little car!” A husky bulldog receives a portrayal that's more stereotypical than original: “Fat dog, fat dog, just look at you eat / I think you've had too many treats!” Each puppy boldly dominates its page, while visual elements (such as a bone) extend to the facing page, where the text is placed. The conclusion places a mirror in the center of a facial outline; the gushing voice encourages youngsters to imagine their similarities to the pups. Static expressions keep motions frozen in time. The uniform textual layout fails to provide enough variety to capture young children's interest, but some examples cast a knowing wink to adult pet-owners, who may recall familiar experiences (as when the hound trembles when the vacuum cleaner approaches). The feline companion (Cats! Cats!) receives the same trite treatment.

Just doggone blah. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-61067-041-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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