Together with its companion, two humorous explorations of what it means to take care of a friend.

WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES

From the When Your… series

A child finds out an elephant with the sniffles is a lot of work—and can be contagious to boot!

A brown-skinned child with two cute buns atop her head works very hard to stop her elephant’s sniffles from turning into a sneeze in this lighthearted account. She puts him to bed, sweeps away any allergens, and even brings him a toy to cuddle up with. She soon learns, though, that an elephant in bed can get bored and that he'll need a lot of distracting. In the end, and despite all her efforts, the elephant sneezes. “Oh dear. When your elephant has the sniffles, you just might end up with them too!” The companion volume, When Your Lion Needs a Bath, follows an olive-skinned child attempting to bathe a smelly lion. Sneakiness and an understanding of the lion’s disposition are the main ingredients in this equally lighthearted account. Simple, cartoonlike illustrations against mostly white backgrounds keep the focus on the main characters. The books hit just the right note for children in this age group, who are newly developing empathy and an understanding of others.

Together with its companion, two humorous explorations of what it means to take care of a friend. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9504-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.

FIVE BLACK CATS

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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