An ephemeral but pleasantly coherent take on the viral hit


A trip to the aquarium triggers a “Baby Shark” flash mob.

A parent and child enter the aquarium hand in hand. “Will we see a shark?” the child asks. “Will we see a baby shark?” Of course they do: A cutely snub-nosed (and biologically impossible) shark pup smiles from the tank…and the earworm takes over. “Baby shark! Doo doo doo doo doo doo!” The verse repeats twice more, the “doo doo doo” printed in wavy lines, before it is punctuated by a concluding “Baby shark!” With the turn of the page, it is joined by “Mama shark!” and another child walks up. Cue “doo doo doo.” Then Daddy shark appears, and a third child joins the group, pointing as the earlier two make the “Baby Shark” hand motions. Grandma shark (distinguished by faint wrinkles around the lips, as is Grandpa on the next page—perhaps they forgot their dentures?) swims up next, and then all are seen grinning like the “hungry sharks” they are before the children, now numbering five, “run away!” to join their caregivers, “safe at last!” Kudos to Lewis for creating a plausible visual narrative and peopling it with diverse children. Like all the other “Baby Shark”–themed books in the current tsunami, however, it relies heavily on its readers’ preexisting familiarity with the song for its success.

An ephemeral but pleasantly coherent take on the viral hit . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26318-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Fun format; bland text.


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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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.


A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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