DOING BUSINESS

A dressed-up Everyone Poops.

Harris’ art style is similar to Chris Raschka’s, with thick, black outlines and a flat aesthetic. He sets the stage for a whodunit potty-time story by introducing a small, white dog clad in a blue sports jacket. Rather than anthropomorphizing the pooch, the clothing emphasizes the titular word business. Is this character a tiny, canine CEO? No. The dog remains on all fours, and rather than taking a seat in a chair, it scurries under a large desk in the first, wordless spreads. Meanwhile, a loafered human foot strides across the carpeted floor, and then the first words read, “Uh-oh…” as the feet stop before a brown lump on the floor. In the next double-page spread, a finger points: “Whose business is this?” While readers may immediately connect the dots, the narrator rattles off a series of statements to reject other potential culprits. “The baby does business in a diaper,” and “Daddy does business in the bathroom,” are two such statements, with art showing, respectively, a diapered baby and a man seated on a toilet, naked from the waist down and staring into his smartphone. Images show animals (most wearing the blue suit coat, with fish and birds in neckties) at various stages of defecation. “Everyone is doing business,” the text enthuses. “Business is good.” After everybody else is rejected as the offender, the dog is named and sent outside…to do more business.

Sh—, er, stuff happens. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-01566-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits.

PLANTS FEED ME

This simplest of informational picture books offers a sensible, sunny celebration of the plants—specifically the parts of plants—that we eat.

The opening scene shows a boy seated at table surrounded by a rich harvest. He’s holding a watermelon rind that mirrors the wide grin he wears, helping to set the good-natured tone of the book. As preschoolers examine the pages, they will learn about the featured fruits and vegetables and how they grew. Warm gouache-and–colored-pencil illustrations first depict a garden where “Plants reach up for the sun. / They grow down in the ground.” As the narrator goes on to explain that “I eat different parts from different plants,” such as roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, flowers and seeds, youngsters will find labeled images to peruse. The short, declarative sentences are easily digested by the very youngest and will tempt burgeoning readers to test their skills. Best of all, children will surely be inspired to taste some of the produce the next time it appears on their plates.

Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2526-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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