Nonpedantic, age-appropriate, interactive approaches to common adult-child interactions make for a winner.

MEALTIME

Pull-tabs easily slide to change the image on each page, providing the excitement in this gentle introduction to table manners.

Only the front-cover tab is notched, but the tabs are all in the same position so little ones quickly learn the process. On the front the picture changes from one of Little Kangaroo (who looks like a green bunny) playing while Mommy carries the plates to the table to another of both eating happily together. Each verso page introduces the situation with an exchange of dialogue: “Time to eat, Little Bear!” says his mother; “Oh, mushy food is fun to play with!” he exclaims. On the following pages Little Crocodile feeds himself, Little Kangaroo tries broccoli, Little Monkey sits at the table to eat pasta and fruit salad, Little Bear is rewarded with cake when he stops throwing food and waits patiently, and Daddy Cat uses the airplane “coming in for a landing” trick to feed rice to Little Cat. On the final spread, (without a tab) the child animals use their bibs to wipe their hands. The animals’ simple faces are expressive and the changes in their childlike emotions obvious. Brothers and Sisters, published simultaneously, uses the same animal families to suggest ways to resolve familiar sibling conflicts.

Nonpedantic, age-appropriate, interactive approaches to common adult-child interactions make for a winner. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-40801-594-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love.

LEO LOVES DADDY

A fun-loving daddy’s dedication is apparent in this slice-of-life board book.

Leo, a brown-skinned boy with tight curls, full lips, and a broad nose, delights in playing with Daddy, who has equally clearly Black features. Leo wakes up to Daddy tickling his tummy. Then this superinvolved father fixes pancakes, dances, takes Leo on a bike ride, and tends to Leo’s scraped knee. Together they build with blocks, take a bath, and snuggle with a book before bed. Companion title Leo Loves Mommy follows a similar trajectory through the day. Leo builds a blanket fort with couch cushions, practices yoga, and paints with his mother, who also presents Black. After a bike ride, mommy’s lunch “is so flashy”: celery and carrot sticks turned into edible critters with fruit and nuts. The loving devotion of both parents is tangible and genuine, sweet but not cloying. Simple two-line sentences with unobtrusive rhymes across spreads provide descriptions of the activities and add vocabulary. Each spread illustrates one event against a clear solid color background, free of distracting decoration. Together they complete a full picture of a busy toddler’s day and his loving relationship with each parent.

Ideal for parents, whether going it alone or together, and for the babies and toddlers they love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-241-2

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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