Though there’s not much new here, this is an enjoyable tale about finding friends.

TWOGETHER

Can two be too many? Too few? Or just right?

A young shrew playing alone on the beach decides one isn’t fun and seeks companionship, but an elephant sitting nearby points out it doesn’t need to be in a twosome, citing the activities—sailing, surfing, and singing—it enjoys doing solo. The shrew, however, demonstrates why two’s more fun. Before long, an otter appears on the scene, explaining that its presence now makes them a group of three and opining that number’s even better. Adults reading this to kids won’t be surprised when yet another animal, this one an alligator, shows up, adding up to a total of four beachgoers. The shrew, depicted as small and unprepossessing, still maintains the superiority of two and eventually meets a bird that’s in total agreement; at the end, the pair contentedly build sand castles together. This sweet, lighthearted story, expressed in lilting rhyme conveyed entirely in dialogue bubbles, reassures quieter youngsters who might feel overwhelmed with too many people around them that their preference for a twosome is OK. It also permits very young kids to practice some basic counting skills. The lively pencil-and-ink illustrations give winsome expressions and personalities to the main animal characters; various animals feature throughout as background frolickers enjoying a day at the beach. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 40.3% of actual size.)

Though there’s not much new here, this is an enjoyable tale about finding friends. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984812-91-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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