An amusing tale with heart that preschoolers will enjoy.

BUSTER AND THE BABY

An energetic toddler plays hide-and-seek with her dog, a small but spunky canine named Buster.

In the course of their play, the fluffy white dog tries to hide under a table, behind a chair, and behind a huge, stuffed toy bear. The unnamed little girl always finds Buster, charging at him with a loud “CHAAA!” that makes Buster’s heart thump. The toddler, who looks about 18 months or so, is full of the typical energy and antics of a child her age, charging through the house, knocking over a vase of flowers, and tossing peas in the air with wild abandon. When the child is finally tucked into bed at night, Buster leaps onto her bed with a “CHAAA!” of his own. In a satisfying conclusion, the dog is cuddled up in the girl’s arms, with their hearts beating together. The little girl’s mother and father are present but don’t have much interaction or control over dog or daughter; the family is white. Digitally composed illustrations have a cheerful charm, with particularly funny expressions on Buster’s face. A few illustrations have several side-by-side images of Buster in motion, which may be interpreted by younger readers as multiple dogs rather than as a progression of just one. The emphasis on heartbeats and the thumping noise of a beating heart are also concepts that may be beyond toddlers’ comprehension.

An amusing tale with heart that preschoolers will enjoy. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8787-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre.

I LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE

A bear cub gets a load of lyrical loving from a lumbering parent in this nature walk.

Expressed in stumbling rhyme—“I love you more than trees / love to change with every season. / I love you more than anything. / I cannot name just one reason”—Benson’s perfervid sentiments accompany scenes of bear and cub strolling through stands of birch, splashing into a river to watch (just watch) fish, and, in a final moonlit scene, cuddling beneath starry skies. Foxes, otters, and other animal parents and offspring, likewise adoring, make foreground cameos along the way in Lambert’s neatly composed paper-collage–style illustrations. Since the bears are obvious stand-ins for humans (the cub even points at things and in most views is posed on two legs), the gender ambiguity in both writing and art allow human readers some latitude in drawing personal connections, but that’s not enough to distinguish this uninspired effort among the teeming swarm of “I Love You This Much!” titles.

A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68010-022-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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Good bedtime reading.

POLAR BEAR ISLAND

Only polar bears are allowed on Polar Bear Island, until Kirby, a friendly, creative penguin, arrives on the scene.

On the verso of the first double-page spread, large white lettering proclaims against an azure sky: “Polar Bear Island was peaceful and predictable. Parker, the mayor, planned to keep it that way.” Below, Parker—paint can in left paw—can be seen facing his sign: “Welcome to Polar Bear Island. No Others Allowed.” On the recto, Kirby floats into view on an ice floe, with hat, scarf, and overstuffed suitcase. When Kirby arrives, Parker grudgingly allows her an overnight stay. However, she soon proves her worth to the other bears; she has invented Flipper Slippers, which keep extremities warm and reverse from skates to snowshoes. Now Kirby is allowed to stay and help the bears make their own Flipper Slippers. When her family shows up with more inventions, Parker feels compelled to give them a week. (Presumably, the penguins have made the 12,430-mile-trip from the South Pole to the North Pole, characterized merely as “a long journey.”) A minor crisis permanently changes Parker’s attitudes about exclusivity. The text is accessible and good fun to read aloud. The weakness of the ostensible theme of granting welcome to newcomers lies in the fact that all the newcomers are immediately, obviously useful to the bears. The cartoonlike, scratchboard-ish graphics are lighthearted and full of anthropomorphic touches.

Good bedtime reading. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2870-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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