Good for a holiday snuggle with a little one.

I LOVE YOU THROUGH AND THROUGH AT CHRISTMAS, TOO!

Loving assurance comes wrapped in holiday sentiments.

Church’s round-faced toddler will be instantly recognizable from previous titles thanks to the tiny eyes and toothless smile. Whether inside or out, both the child and a teddy-bear companion sport bright red Santa hats. The gentle, first-person text assures this winsome toddler of the narrator’s unconditional love while the text evokes both the frenetic activity of Christmas preparations and the ideals of the season. “[S]hopping and wrapping / making and baking” are balanced by “I love you because you are patient and kind, // merry and bright, // helping and giving.” Sometimes the text rhymes (“I love you with bells and wreaths, // garland and trees”), but instead of forcing consistent rhymes, Rossetti-Shustak relies on rhythm and pacing to deliver her message. Muted greens, russet reds, and tawny backgrounds scattered with stars and snowflakes give the illustrations an old-fashioned feel. The sturdy binding and padded covers will survive rough handling. There’s not a real story here; just an attitude of unmitigated acceptance. The child has light skin and a few wisps of brown hair.

Good for a holiday snuggle with a little one. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-23010-9

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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