A pleasant introduction to the power in sticking together.

BETTER TOGETHER

A BOOK OF FAMILY

Animals discover they are not alone.

There’s strength in numbers in this board book. Each page features a single animal looking for some sort of assistance. When little readers lift the large flaps on the recto of each spread, the scene changes to a group of animals solving the problem. A lone prairie dog nervously confronts a snake but is then defended by his family once the flap is lifted. A baby crow hungrily spots a worm out of reach in a tree; it’s then lowered by her mother so she can eat it. The book ends with a brown-skinned baby alone in a living room, and the flap lifts to reveal loving dads (one white, one black), siblings, and grandparents. The illustrations are made of comfortably round lines and are bright with a primary-color palette that little readers are quite familiar with. There is value added with vocabulary that introduces the names of animal babies and collective names, where appropriate. This is likely to be overshadowed by the die-cut shapes in each lifting flap that, when closed, isolate the single animal that is depicted with its family underneath. These cutouts are quite detailed, including tails and individual toes, and although the pages are of sturdy stock, they are likely to fall victim to little fingers before long.

A pleasant introduction to the power in sticking together. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2538-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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